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Stabenow Amendment Will Improve Access to Health in Rural Areas

Press Release

Location: Washington, DC

U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) today announced that the Office for the Advancement of Telehealth (OAT) could receive an additional $6.8 million to afford grants establishing telehealth networks and telehealth resource centers throughout the country. Telehealth networks utilize the latest in communications technology to allow specialists to share information and provide quality patient care over long distances.

"Every American should have access to quality, affordable health care," said Stabenow. "This additional funding will provide resources to help expand and update existing telehealth centers throughout Michigan and help build more networks to meet the needs of our rural and underserved communities."

For example, Michigan State University and Marquette General Hospital are leading efforts to implement telehealth networks as part of the Midwest Alliance for Telehealth and Technology Resources (MATTeR). Purdue University and the University of Kansas are also partners in this initiative to ensure proper health care is administered to residents in need across three states. The Stabenow amendment will help ensure continued funding for MATTeR.

The Stabenow amendment passed last week and would take the total funding for (OAT) to $13.8 million. The amendment is part of the FY 2008 Labor, Health, and Human Services, and Education appropriations bill, which will be finalized tomorrow.

The Stabenow amendment is being cosponsored by U.S. Senators John Thune (R-SD), Kent Conrad (D-ND), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Tim Johnson (D-SD), Ken Salazar (D-CO), and Norm Coleman (R-MN).

Senator Stabenow has been recognized for her leadership in bringing innovative technology to the health care sector. She is the co-chair of the Senate Health Care Quality and Information Technology Caucus and a member of the Senate Rural Health Caucus.

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