Washington, D.C. (March 2, 2021) – Eastern Washington Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (WA-05) today highlighted the importance of new telehealth services and technology in Eastern Washington. During today’s Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health hearing, McMorris Rodgers said the following:
“Telehealth is a vital way for patients to access care, especially in rural communities and during a pandemic. I’m from a small town in Eastern Washington – Kettle Falls – and I’ve lived through the challenges that people face in rural communities when it comes to accessing health care.
“I’ve also visited hospitals and health care facilities in Eastern Washington, too. As a leader on the Rural Healthcare Caucus, our conversations about expanding telehealth to address doctor shortages is no longer just a goal for the future, it’s happening today.
“In response to COVID-19, Providence Health System – which has four hospitals in my district – scaled up their telehealth services from more than 7,000 visits in 2019 to more than 100,000 visits in 2020. This is more than a 1,000% increase in volume. Physicians across Washington State have leveraged telehealth technologies to reach more patients, save lives, and improve care.
“Across America, COVID-19 led to a massive expansion of telehealth, when non-emergency visits were shuttered. It was the only way for people to get routine care.
“Now, it’s time to plan for the future of telehealth. Thanks to the groundwork we laid with 21st Century Cures, leadership by the private sector, and Operation Warp Speed, the third vaccine for COVID-19 was just authorized for emergency use.
“With continued work, I’m hopeful we will crush this virus and restore our way of life – that includes patients returning to the doctor’s office without fear of contracting COVID-19.
“Our shared goal should be to promote solutions that help patients recover from their illnesses and manage their chronic conditions better – whether it is through a video call or in-person care. We need to make sure we expand telehealth and maintain our commitment to our nation’s seniors to provide a top-notch level of care.
“I’m optimistic about telehealth and its ability to improve the health and wellness of Americans. It’s bringing doctors right into families’ living rooms, and it’s an example of how innovation can improve and save people’s lives.”
Click here to watch Cathy’s full opening statement.