U.S. Sen. Deb Fischer said she’s pleased by Wednesday’s announcement of a new Federal Communications Commission initiative designed to improve rural Americans’ access to telehealth services.

FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr announced the “Connected Care Pilot Program” that will provide better access to health services after they leave clinics and hospitals.

The announcement follows a letter written to Carr by Fischer that outlined the need for health services in rural areas.

“I welcome the new telehealth initiative from the FCC. This program would increase Nebraskans’ access to connected health care services and life-saving technologies. Better telehealth connectivity will improve follow-up care and enhance doctors’ ability to monitor patients outside of the hospital,” the Valentine senator said Wednesday.

On Aug. 2, the FCC will vote on a public notice seeking comment on the $100 million telehealth pilot program. The agency will explore how the program could provide Universal Service Fund dollars for broadband connectivity to bring patients access to connected care services. The FCC will also look at whether equipment, consumer devices, and mobile health applications should be covered by funding.

In May 2018, Fischer hosted Carr in Northeast Nebraska. They toured Stanton Telecom and led a roundtable discussions with stakeholders focused on rural broadband connectivity. The two also participated in a precision ag demonstration at Northeast Community College in Norfolk.

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