Senator introduces telehealth bill

Friday, March 11 2011

South Dakota senator John Thune is reintroducing the "Fostering Independence Through Technology Act," a bill that has been presented to congress before but has yet to pass.

The act would provide help to different health agencies in rural areas around the country. Introducing telehealth systems such as videoconferencing and home monitoring technology to these organizations can help those who do not have the resources to access specialized healthcare. According to the Rapid City Journal, agencies that have participated in past government telehealth projects would also receive support and incentives based on Medicare savings achieved through the use of the telehealth services.

"Telehealth technology stands to bridge the distance gap between patients and specialized health care providers through new and innovative measures and can bring down the cost of health care in rural communities," Thune said in a statement.

Besides Thune, the bipartisan bill is also co-sponsored by Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and is supported by the Evangelical Lutheran Good Samaritan Society - the nation's largest non-profit provider of senior care and services.