Finally in the news this week is an article about the expansion of rural telemedicine resource funding to skilled nursing facilities in rural areas. A new bill in Congress called the Rural Health Care Connectivity Act of 2015 seeks to provide additional funding for broadband internet service expansion in rural areas currently only served by dial-up internet or hybrid satellite systems.

Improved Broadband Health Connectivity

Doctor-Nurse-Rural-Telemedicine-TabletSkilled nursing facilities could benefit from this connectivity to help them reach out to specialists for their residents and prevent unnecessary hospitalizations and ambulance transports for the patients. The new bill sets aside funding to include underserved healthcare sectors, like rural telemedicine, in the program which will help them partner with technologies they might not ordinarily have the resources to provide.

This is exciting because it shows the expansion of important medical and health technology to many more areas than just the major hospital centers. Community clinics, skilled nursing facilities and other potential rural telemedicine health centers will now have more access to these telemedicine resources. But it is just a start.

This is only a pilot program and will need to be greatly expanded to become ubiquitous in all healthcare centers around the country. I urge you and other nurses to support these expansions of services and funding so that people will receive the care they deserve, wherever they live.

You can do this by staying on top of the current legislative efforts by lawmakers both locally and at the federal level. One way to easily do this is to be a member of the American Nurses Association and/or your own nursing specialty association. The benefits are numerous and help you to do the things you need to do to be informed about initiatives like this.

Make sure you follow-up on the links for this news item and all of the other news and additional resource links from this week’s episode – Millennial Women’s Health Management and Episode 372.



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