House Passes 2018 Farm Bill to Expand Telemedicine Services in Rural Communities
June 25, 2018 – The House has passed the 2018 Farm Bill, which will increase funding for telemedicine in rural communities in an effort to improve health outcomes.
The bill features several amendments that focus on rural health outcomes, including the prioritization of funds to help the rural health crisis, funding for rural broadband projects, and increased funding for telemedicine. The latter two amendments aim to improve technology access and thus improve access to medical care in rural areas that may be otherwise hard-to-reach.
In comparison to urban areas (concentrated areas of over 10,000 people), rural populations have more uninsured residents under age 65 and all around higher rates of mortality due to disease, according to a 2017 report by the North Carolina Rural Health Research Program (NC RHRP) at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Telemedicine has proven to improve access to healthcare, particularly in rural areas. Programs like the Hancock County Healthcare Access Initiative, which aims to arm the rural clinics of Georgia with telehealth kits, have drastically changed the rural healthcare landscape. The programs bring care to those who don’t necessarily know that they need healthcare but who can benefit from it.
The whole Farm Bill is an $867 billion package, aiming to renew the safety net for farmers across the country. The bill was passed in the House by a vote of 213-211. The bill will now face a Senate vote before it reaches final approval.
Telemedicine is a simple, affordable option to get on demand healthcare. If you would like to speak to a physician and/or get treated, book an appointment with a PlushCare online doctor now. We accept insurance and appointments are available every 15 minutes.