Source: New York Times
The roughly 15 percent of the population living in rural America includes some of the oldest and sickest patients in the country — a disparity that has grown more stark during the coronavirus pandemic. The Biden administration is investing more in telemedicine, whose use has grown sharply during the pandemic, as a way to improve their access to care.
Last month, the Department of Health and Human Services announced that it was distributing nearly $20 million to strengthen telehealth services — usually medical appointments that take place by video or phone — in rural and underserved communities across the country. While the amount is relatively modest, it is part of a broader push to address the long-neglected health care infrastructure in those areas.
The spending includes about $4 million to help bring primary, acute and behavioral health care directly to patients via telehealth in 11 states, including Arkansas, Arizona and Maine. The money will update technology in rural health care clinics, train doctors and nurses how to conduct telehealth appointments and teach patients how to take advantage of virtual appointments when they cannot see a doctor in person.
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