Rep. Austin Scott: President Trump’s Telemedicine Expansion Good for Rural America
WASHINGTON, DC - Congressman Austin Scott (GA-08), a senior member of the House Agriculture Committee, released the below statement upon President Donald Trump signing an executive order to enhance telehealth services to better serve rural America.
“In many rural communities, access to quality care is difficult, especially in the midst of the COVID-19 outbreak. The President’s new executive order expanding telehealth service access will not only improve care and treatment options for our rural communities now, but it will also make substantial enhancements to health care communication infrastructure and telehealth services that will positively impact rural communities for years to come,” said Rep. Scott.
Highlights of the executive order are below. You can also click here to read President Trump’s full executive order.
- Launching an Innovative Payment Model to Enable Rural Health Care Transformation: The Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) will announce a new model to test innovative payment mechanisms to give rural providers flexibilities from existing Medicare rules, establish predictable financial payments, and encourage the movement into high-quality, value-based care.
- Investing in Physical and Communications Infrastructure: The Secretary of HHS and the Secretary of Agriculture, along with the Federal Communications Commission, will develop and implement a strategy to improve rural health by improving the physical and communications health care infrastructure available to rural Americans.
- Improving the Health of Rural Americans: The Secretary of HHS will submit a report to the President regarding existing and upcoming policy initiatives to: increase rural access to health care by eliminating regulatory burdens that limit the availability of clinical professionals; prevent disease and mortality by developing rural specific efforts to drive improved health outcomes; reduce maternal mortality and morbidity; and improve mental health in rural communities.
- Expanding Flexibilities Beyond the Public Health Emergency: The Secretary of HHS will review temporary telehealth service measures put in place during the public health emergency and propose a regulation to extend these measures, as appropriate.
Supporting rural hospitals and health care facilities during the COVID-19 outbreak has been a key priority for Rep. Scott. On July 24, Rep. Scott introduced the Assistance for Rural Health, Safety, and Educational Facilities Act (H.R. 7758), which would provide the Secretary of Agriculture with $4 billion to assist rural facilities offering essential health, education, and public safety services in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. The bill would also allow the Secretary the ability to provide grants and loans for certain operating expenses, as well as the traditional costs associated with infrastructure construction. Click here to read more.