On March 16th, the White House Office of Public Engagement held the latest in its series of Health Equity Forums to discuss plans underway to ensure strong partnerships across the health sector in the implementation of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

The Forum was an opportunity to hear directly from White House officials about how we will achieve President Biden’s goals of supporting disadvantaged and underserved communities via implementation of this historic investment in infrastructure. It was also an opportunity to highlight the intersection of telehealth equity, broadband access, and key provisions in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law that address the digital divide and expand access to telehealth.

The conversation, facilitated by Dr. Alister Martin of the White House Office of Public Engagement, featured Lisa Hone from the White House National Economic Council, Tiffany Swygert, MHS from the Domestic Policy Council, and Jackie Ward, PhD from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.

Other speaking participants included Dr. Megan Ranney, an emergency physician and Founding Director at Brown-Lifespan Center for Digital Health who shared her work on telehealth equity and Dr. Shuhan He, an emergency physician and Director of Growth at the Center for Innovation in Digital HealthCare at Massachusetts General, who shared examples of telehealth and digital health programs in action that address pre-existing access barriers.

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law commits a historic $65 billion in funding to help ensure every American has access to high-speed, affordable, and reliable internet. The Affordable Connectivity Program in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law improves access to broadband nationwide and helps address disparities in access to care by helping patients directly cover the cost of internet service plans by participating providers.

Specifically, the Affordable Connectivity Program:

  • Provides a subsidy of up to $30/month for lower-income households ($75/month for households on tribal lands) on any internet service plan offered by a participating provider; and
  • Provides a one-time $100 subsidy for a desktop, laptop, or tablet computer if the household contributes between $10-$50.

The Biden-Harris Administration understands the critical role that telehealth has played with respect to mental and behavioral health in particular during the COVID-19 pandemic and the recently enacted Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2022 extends several Telehealth flexibilities.

The Administration’s Community Connected Health program capitalizes on the power of innovation and technology, with the human connection, to meet people in their own communities and achieve better health. Healthcare providers can provide input at that better supports telehealth technology via a Request for Information. More context is also provided in a White House OSTP Blog Post.

Help patients get involved with the Broadband Affordable Connectivity Program today!

Calls to Action:

  • Broadband Affordable Connectivity Program – Bipartisan Infrastructure Law

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