Ron: Path to prosperity and quality health care in rural Oregon demands reliable broadband

Ron heard last week from providers of rural health care in Oregon about the importance of dependable broadband to telemedicine that lets them share key information with each other like imaging and X-rays.

“The path to prosperity and quality health care in rural Oregon demands reliable rural broadband,” he said at a June 1 roundtable at St. Charles Hospital in Bend. “You can’t just have a healthcare system that picks and chooses affluent folks in urban areas and forgets about rural communities.”

Ron’s remarks in Bend echoed the sentiments expressed at his Lake County town hall the day before in Paisley and his visit the previous week to the Winding Waters clinic in Joseph from rural Oregonians concerned about quality health care.

“This has life-and-death implications in rural Oregon when minutes can make a difference,” he said at the Bend roundtable with officials representing St. Charles, OCHIN, Mosaic Medical and LaPine Community Health Center.

The senator and the healthcare providers gathered at St. Charles both noted the importance of net neutrality to ensure smaller rural providers aren’t left in the slow lane by those working to reverse net neutrality.  As ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee, Ron said he would continue to fight for net neutrality.

In addition, he pressed federal officials to increase the $400 million cap for the Rural Health Care Program to meet growing demand from rural providers to install broadband in their facilities.  

Ron, and all the other Oregonians who weighed in, got immediate results. Just this week the FCC announced that due that public response they would be raising the $400 million cap.  Ron will continue to fight to make sure the increased funding is distributed as quickly and as efficiently as possible.