By: Lisbeth Perez
Senators and healthcare IT experts raised concerns this week that many in the United States cannot benefit from the recent boom in telehealth services because of a lack of affordable high-speed internet access across the country.
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed so much about how people live their lives, but nothing changed so fundamentally as the interaction between doctors and their patients. The number of telehealth appointments is now twenty-three times higher than it was before the pandemic. That’s also been the case on the Federal government front, with the Department of Veterans Affairs reporting a 12-fold surge in telehealth visits between February and May 2020, to 120,000 per week.
“These programs are essential, but our work is just beginning,” said Sen. Ben Ray Luján, D-N.M., at an October 7 Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee hearing that focused on telehealth capabilities.
“The digital divide is standing in our way of connecting all Americans to this vital service,” the senator said.
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