Telehealth services scarce in rural areas as coronavirus spreads


While many large healthcare systems are making use of telehealth services during the coronavirus outbreak, many rural hospitals do not have the same advantage.

A study from Connected Nations looked at the use of telehealth in rural areas as COVID-19 continues to spread. The study found that a lack of funding for program expansion, the need for improved broadband access and inconsistent reimbursement from insurance and Medicaid telehealth services to be the three major challenges affecting rural health networks from using telehealth.

Broadband access has long been a hot topic in Rural America and government officials are receiving more pressure to build a nationwide broadband system. A group of nonpartisan organizations, including the National Governors Association, National Conference of State Legislatures, Council of State Governments and United States Conference of Mayors, have called on the federal government to expand its investment in a nationwide broadband infrastructure.

“The need for greater federal investment in the nation’s broadband infrastructure has never been more apartment,” said the National Governors Association in a press release on behalf of all the organizations. “Connectivity is essential to unleashing economic potential, promoting job growth and ensuring small business participant in the digital economy. We need ubiquitous, affordable broadband to truly unlock the potential of new technologies for healthcare advancement and smart infrastructure.”

For all updates on the Coronavirus and how it impacts Rural America, visit our Coronavirus outbreak hub.