Recently Senator Franken talked about his ideas for improving health in rural areas. One of the three bills he’s pushing to improve health involves technology…
One would provide more ways to get to health-care services, including increasing payments to those who provide transportation. Also, increased broadband high-speed Internet funding would come to rural areas to connect rural residents to city doctors.
Duluth New Tribune reports…
Rural areas should not be left behind in medical care, Franken said.
“I don’t think it should be part of living in beautiful rural Minnesota that you have worse health-care quality,” he said.
One key is to encourage broadband expansion in rural areas, Franken said. Telemedicine can use video and other technology for a doctor or other professional to see a patient across the state.
“We live in a profoundly different time with broadband than we did 10 years ago,” Franken said. “We have to build on our ability to do telemedicine.”
The need to use technology is illustrated by figures from the Minnesota Rural Health Association. It reports that for every doctor in the Twin Cities, there are 300 people. In greater Minnesota cities, that figure is close to 700. But in deep rural Minnesota, there is one doctor for every 2,000 residents.
“We can’t do this fast enough, as far as I’m concerned,” Franken said of expanding broadband.
The move could help mental health services, he said, which are critically needed in rural Minnesota.