Rural Patients, Seniors Would Benefit from Technology, Changes to Payment Systems

WASHINGTON –U.S. Senators Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) and Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) have introduced legislation to expand the use of telehealth technology to improve health care for seniors and other patients in underserved areas.

The Telehealth Enhancement Act of 2014 (S.2662) would provide Medicare beneficiaries with greater access to telehealth technologies to help lower health care costs. The Senate measure is a companion bill to bipartisan legislation (HR.3306) authored by Representative Gregg Harper (R-Miss.) last year. Cochran and Wicker intend to seek bipartisan support for their bill.

“Advances in technology create opportunities to improve health care for seniors, veterans, rural patients and people who live in medically underserved areas,” Cochran said. “This legislation is an effort to build on the progress already being made in states like Mississippi by expanding the use of telehealth technologies to better serve patients and save taxpayer dollars.”

“This bill would give Mississippi’s innovative health-care providers, like UMMC, the necessary tools for telehealth technology, improving the ways they serve their patients,” Wicker said. “Telehealth cuts down travel time and increases access to specialists for residents in many rural areas who do not live near these essential health-care resources.”