"I am pleased to be able to work with people who are using technology to improve the lives of people across this country," said Thune. "Telehealth is transforming the way doctors and nurses are able to treat people in rural areas, like South Dakota, as well as bringing specialists to people everywhere. By using telecommunications and information technologies, telehealth has the ability to provide health care services at a distance to patients in rural states like South Dakota, as well as remote or isolated areas, such as reservations."
On December 30, 2005, President Bush signed into law the Labor, HHS and Education Appropriations Conference Report, which included an amendment that Senator Thune sponsored adding $3 million to the Office for the Advancement of Telehealth to fund telehealth resource centers, create network grants and demonstration projects on telehomecare, and develop and implement cooperative policies that reduce statutory and regulatory barriers to telehealth.
Senator Thune has also introduced remote monitoring legislation in the Senate known as the Fostering Independence Through Technology (FITT) Act (S. 1733), which establishes pilot projects under the Medicare program and incentivizes home health agencies to utilize home monitoring and communications technology. The pilot projects will be conducted in both urban and rural areas and at least one project must be conducted in a state with a population of less than one million.
CTeL is a proven leader in providing education and analysis on telehealth, e-health, and emerging technologies. CTeL's mission is to overcome the legal and regulatory barriers to the utilization of telehealth and related e-health services.
Attached is a photo of Senator Thune receiving the award from Mary DeVany, Manager of the TeleHealth Network at Avera McKennan, at a luncheon in Washington.