NTCA Testimony on Rural Telemedicine

For Immediate Release
Contact: Laura Withers, 703-351-2087, lwithers@ntca.org

Arlington, Va., (July 31, 2014) – Maggie Basgall, community development specialist for Nex-Tech (Lenora, Kan.), testified today before the House Small Business Subcommittee on Health and Technology hearing, “Telemedicine: A Prescription for Small Medical Practices?

The following is excerpted from Basgall’s written testimony:

“Broadband can play a special role in rural areas by enabling greater telemedicine functionality and helping residents overcome the challenges of distance that make so many tasks more expensive and time consuming. … We cannot hope to realize the full benefits of broadband for the provision of healthcare generally, and telemedicine more specifically in rural areas, if outdated rules deny support for broadband-capable network investments or the threat of adverse changes to these USF rules create uncertainty in making the decisions to undertake such long-term investments. Sufficient and predictable USF support that provides recovery for both the initial costs of installing a rural broadband network and the ongoing costs of operating and upgrading that network over time must be seen as a prerequisite to any successful efforts in telemedicine. Rural America will not realize the promise of telemedicine without a broadband-oriented USF that offers carriers the regulatory certainty needed to make network investments. Support through the USF Rural Health Care Fund and RUS Distance Learning and Telemedicine Grant Program for doctors and nurses who need to purchase hardware, software, and telecom services will continue to be helpful in the advancement of telemedicine.”

The full text of the submitted written testimony is available online.

An archive of the hearing is available on the subcomittee's YouTube channel.

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NTCA–The Rural Broadband Association is the premier association representing nearly 900 independent, community-based telecommunications companies that are leading innovation in rural and small-town America. NTCA advocates on behalf of its members in the legislative and regulatory arenas, and it provides training and development; publications and industry events; and an array of employee benefit programs. In an era of exploding technology, deregulation and marketplace competition, NTCA’s members are leading the IP evolution for rural consumers, delivering technologies that make rural communities vibrant places in which to live and do business. Because of their efforts, rural America is fertile ground for innovation in economic development and commerce, education, health care, government services, security and smart energy use. Visit us at www.ntca.org.