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Senate Passes Schatz-Wicker Resolution Designating Telehealth Awareness Week

Resolution Will Help More Americans Learn About Accessing Care Through Telehealth

WASHINGTON – Last night, the U.S. Senate unanimously passed a bipartisan resolution authored by U.S. Senators Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i) and Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) designating September 18-24 as “Telehealth Awareness Week.” The resolution recognized that telehealth has helped millions of people access quality health care, and has become a critical component of health care delivery.

“Telehealth helps people get quality health care safely and when they need it, and our resolution is a way for Congress to show bipartisan support for and make more people aware of these important services,” said Senator Schatz.

“Telehealth has increasingly become essential to delivering quality health care to all Americans,” Senator Wicker said. “This resolution honors the great progress that has been made, and it sends a strong signal that Congress is committed to making these services more accessible to communities across the country.”

The resolution recognized the bipartisan support in Congress for telehealth and encouraged expanded access to telehealth services for all people, including members of rural and underserved communities. It noted that more than 28 million Medicare beneficiaries used telehealth services during the first year of the pandemic, an increase of 88 percent. It concluded that “Telehealth Awareness Week” will unite the efforts of patients, caregivers, health care providers, policymakers, and other stakeholders to advance the role of telehealth in health care.

The resolution was cosponsored by U.S. Senators Ben Cardin (D-Md.), John Thune (R-S.D.), Mark Warner (D-Va.), and Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.).

Schatz has led efforts in the Senate to expand access to telehealth, including introducing a Telehealth Awareness Week resolution last September. He also reintroduced the CONNECT for Health Act last year, the most comprehensive bipartisan telehealth legislation in Congress. Since its first iteration in 2016, several provisions from the bill have been signed into law.

The full text of the resolution is available here.