Rep Deb Kiel (Crookston) will be looking to extend telehealth support beyond COVID

The Grand Forks Herald provides details on the areas’ legislators and their plans for the 2021 session…

Along with the budget, District 1 lawmakers say their priorities include reopening the economy while limiting the use of peacetime emergency powers by Gov. Tim Walz. They also mention health care needs, including expanding access to providers through telehealth. Minnesota’s legislative session began on Tuesday, Jan. 5.

Rep. Deb Kiel is looking to make permanent telehealth changes made in deference to COVID…

Longtime District 1B Rep. Deb Kiel, R-Crookston, also said her priorities include reopening the economy, which she called one of the most pressing issues for her district. The tax dollars generated by businesses are necessary for future budget allocations, she said.

Kiel’s priorities also include health care proposals, an area on which she has focused in her 10 years in the Legislature. Telehealth expands access to residents in greater Minnesota and should not be seen as a reaction to COVID-19, according to Kiel, who is calling for advances made in telehealth to be made permanent. She says the pandemic may have opened the eyes of other lawmakers.

“I couldn’t get anybody to hardly hear the (telehealth) bill four years ago,” she told the Herald.

Kiel said she will prioritize legislation allowing for medical advocates – a family member or trusted adviser who can accompany a patient and speak to their interests. The coronavirus has tightened who can enter health care facilities, out of concern for spreading the virus, but Kiel expressed confidence in allowing an advocate to safely enter the premises with a patient.

“I have found in dealing with health care issues, and pretty serious ones, a loved one, or somebody that you have prepared, would know your health issues and also what you want,” Kiel said.

This entry was posted in Healthcare, MN, Policy by Ann Treacy. Bookmark the permalink.

About Ann Treacy

Librarian who follows rural broadband in MN and good uses of new technology (, hosts a radio show on MN music (, supports people experiencing homelessness in Minnesota ( and helps with social justice issues through Women’s March MN.

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