FCC commissioner: Telehealth push is designed to aid low-income Americans

A Federal Communications Commission (FCC) commissioner said in an interview that aired on Monday that the FCC's newest telehealth program is aimed at aiding low-income Americans. 

"There's actually an ... unfortunate overlap between lack of broadband deployment in communities, low income, and poor health outcomes," Brendan Carr told Hill.TV's Buck Sexton in an interview conducted on Aug. 3, shortly after the Connected Care Pilot Program was approved. 

"Those things tend to cluster together as issues, so this program is designed to focus on low-income Americans, and make sure that they get their fair shot at these next generation health-care opportunities," he continued. 

The $100 million pilot program is aimed at bringing telehealth technology to low-income Americans in rural areas. 

Telehealth is aimed at using technology, such as tablets and phones, to deliver health-care services without patients having to step foot in a health care facility. 

"This pilot program is exploring how do we support this new trend, and make sure that people have the broadband connectivity and everything else they need to take advantage of these new health applications," he said 

Carr said the program has already seen success in treating diabetes in Mississippi, which has struggled to treat the disease. 

"In that pilot program in Mississippi, they saw a reduction in about 1.7 percent of A1C levels, which doesn't sound like a lot but that 1 percent reduction even is associated with a 45 percent reduction in certain cardiovascular diseases," Carr said, referring to an indication of blood glucose levels. 

"So the technology is out there to do the blood analysis and address everything from opioid dependency issues to pediatric cardiology." 

— Julia Manchester