Recent Press Releases

Thune Introduces Telehealth Amendment

Amendment would increase access to state-of-the-art health care for rural and remote patients

October 17, 2007

Washington, D.C. —  Senator John Thune today introduced an amendment to the Fiscal Year 2008 Labor, Health, and Human Services, and Education appropriations bill that would provide an additional $6.8 million for the Office for the Advancement of Telehealth to increase access to telehealth resources across the nation. The amendment would bring the total funding for the Office for the Advancement of Telehealth to $13.8 million. Thune's amendment is cosponsored by Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Kent Conrad (D-ND), and Mike Crapo (R-ID).

"Telehealth has revolutionized healthcare in rural areas across the country," Thune said. "Telehealth is an important innovation that promises greater access to high-quality health care with reduced costs for patients and health care providers, especially in rural areas.

"Many South Dakotans do not live near certain specialists. Telehealth can bridge the gap between patients and medical services by enabling doctors, nurses and other medical personnel to provide remote care. Telehealth also increases patient and provider access to medical information and improves training for healthcare providers."

Senator Thune's amendment would increase funding to expand support for existing and new telehealth resource centers. It would also support telehealth network grants, demonstrations, and pilot programs for telehomecare.

Nearly 400 individuals and organizations across the country have voiced their support for a $13.8 million appropriation for the Office for the Advancement of Telehealth.