White House Rural Council hosts ‘Telemedicine Summit’ to improve rural health care

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WASHINGTON (WEAU) -- Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and the rest of the White House Rural Council hosted the Rural Telemedicine Summit, in an effort to improve healthcare in remote areas.

Vilsack says this Summit was the perfect opportunity to find the intersection of expanding health care and improving technology. He says widening the scope of broadband in the U.S. is crucial in improving rural health care services.

Vilsack mentioned Native American areas are particularly affected, but also Veterans returning from service. According to the White House, 40 percent of Veterans live in rural areas and seldom have easy access to care, especially mental health care. Vilsack says he and the White House want to create easier access for all Americans in remote areas.

"This administration has made an historic investment in expanding broadband, which you obviously have to have,” said Vilsack. "You have to have the equipment, (and be) providing health care facilities and mental health clinics the hardware, which we’re doing through our rural development programs.”

Secretary Vilsack says this is the first time they've had top broadband and healthcare advisors meet. He expects the summit to produce substantial improvements.

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