Loebsack Praises FCC’s Action to Increase Funding for the Rural Health Care Program
Congressman Dave Loebsack released the following statement today after the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted to raise the cap on the Universal Service Fund’s Rural Health Care Program by $171 million. This new investment brings the cap for this fund to $571 million, which helps provide access to high speed internet for rural health care providers. In 2016, Loebsack worked to get legislation signed into law that made skilled nursing facilities eligible to receive funds through this program.
“I am pleased that the FCC voted to raise the amount of funding available through the Rural Health Care Program, which has not seen an increase since 1997. It is essential that all the different components of the USF are fully supported, and ensuring rural healthcare providers and their facilities have access to broadband internet is necessary for both patients and doctors. The demand has exceeded the amount of funding available through the Rural Health Care Program and this increase will allow more providers in our rural communities to have access to broadband to better treat patients.”
Background on Loebsack’s Rural Health Care Connectivity Act
Skilled nursing facilities are an integral part of the healthcare system, particularly in rural areas. Access to broadband at reasonable rates helps them give high quality care to their patients. Many skilled nursing facilities are increasingly dependent on access to broadband, especially if they have little access to hospitals nearby. While many other rural healthcare providers have access to Rural Health Care Program funds, skilled nursing facilities did not. Allowing these facilitates to participate in the Rural Health Care program helps these facilities develop new and innovative technologies and practices, such as tele-health and telemedicine.
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