Health Information Technology

117TH Congress Accomplishments: Broadband

As Chair of the committee tasked with overseeing the historic $65 billion investment in broadband under the Infrastructure and Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), Sen. Cantwell (D-WA) is working to ensure funding goes to communities that need it most. Through a broad array of broadband initiatives, our Committee Democrats believe we can expand economic opportunity and access to education, healthcare, telehealth, and e-commerce, regardless of where people live. Sen.

Senators Rosen (D-NV), Fischer (R-NE) and Young (R-IN) Bipartisan Data Mapping to Save Mom's Lives Act Signed Into Law

Senators Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Deb Fischer (R-NE), and Todd Young (R-IN) applauded news that President Biden has signed their bipartisan Data Mapping to Save Moms’ Lives Act into law. The legislation would require the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to identify areas where high rates of poor maternal health outcomes overlap with lack of access to broadband services in order to pinpoint where telehealth services can be most effective.

Closing the Digital Divide Benefits Everyone, Not Just the Unconnected

Institutions that provide essential services, including education, health care, government functions, and the workforce, have a duty to make their services universally accessible. But because of the persistence of the digital divide, these institutions cannot fully integrate and modernize internet-based technologies into their services; doing so would effectively deny service to people who cannot adequately access the internet. As a result, institutions have been unable to fully leverage the benefits of technology to make their services even more effective, efficient, and innovative.

The VA used supplemental COVID funding from three different bills to support expanded telehealth services and remote operations during the worst of the pandemic.

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) received approximately $36.70 billion in supplemental funding outside of its annual appropriation from three COVID-19 relief laws between 2020 and 2021: the CARES Act; the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA); and the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA). As of August 23, 2022, VA had obligated approximately 99 percent of its funds from the CARES Act and FFCRA and 56.9 percent of funds from ARPA.

FCC Partners With The Department Of Veterans Affairs To Facilitate Veterans' Access To The Affordable Connectivity And Lifeline Programs

The Federal Communications Commission has launched a database connection with the Veterans Benefits Administration, an agency of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, to make it easier for veterans to sign up for the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) and Lifeline. The connection will enable automatic eligibility verification of Veterans receiving qualifying pension benefits.

Notice of Request for Broadband Project and Planning Proposals

The Idaho Broadband Advisory Board is requesting proposals from eligible entities on broadband infrastructure needs across the state of Idaho. This information will be submitted in the form of a broadband infrastructure or planning project proposal. Eligible entities include:

Telemedicine Use Among Adults: United States, 2021

Telemedicine is a way for health care providers to deliver clinical health care to patients remotely through a computer or telephone, without an in-person office visit. The demonstrated benefits of telemedicine include improved access to care, convenience, and slowing the spread of infection. During the COVID-19 pandemic, legislation expanded coverage for telemedicine healthcare services. Key findings from this research include the following: 

The Critical Role of Web Accessibility in Health Information Access, Understanding, and Use

Older adults and people with disabilities cannot equitably access the same health information and care as people without disabilities when hospital websites are not accessible. The American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) found the following key insights relating to digital accessibility and its importance to older Americans:

  • Hospitals and health care systems in the U.S. need continuing education on the role of web accessibility in American Disability Act (ADA) compliance given the significance of newly issued federal guidance.

Changing Our (Virtual) Reality: Telehealth and the US Maternal Health Crisis

As society works to address the systemic barriers that contribute to the maternal health crisis, it is important to recognize the role that telehealth could play in improving the United States’ maternal health outcomes. Policymakers should take the following into consideration: 

Internet access and cardiovascular death in the United States

As high-speed internet becomes increasingly important as a resource for cardiovascular disease (CVD) prevention and management services, gaps in digital infrastructure may have a detrimental impact on health outcomes. Using national census and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data from 2018, researchers evaluated state-level rates of household internet access and age-adjusted cardiac mortality.