CONGRESSWOMAN ELISE STEFANIK
On Tuesday, December 6, 2016, the House will consider S. 2873, the Expanding Capacity for Health Outcomes (ECHO) Act, under suspension of the rules. S. 2873 was introduced by Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) on April 28, 2016, and was referred to the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions. The Senate passed the bill with an amendment on November 29, 2016 by a vote of 97-0.
S. 2873 requires the Department of Health and Human Services, to study technology-enabled collaborated learning and capacity building models and the ability of those models to improve patient care and provider education as well as their impact on health care workforce issues, implementation of public health programs, and the delivery of health services in rural and underserved areas, and to underserved populations.
Only ten percent of physicians practice in rural areas of the United States despite nearly one-fourth of the population living in these areas. In many cases, rural areas have higher rates of some chronic diseases and face increased challenges including transportation, connectivity, and isolation.
The Project Extension for Community Health Outcomes is an innovative continuing medical education model that uses interactive videoconferencing to link specialist teams with primary care providers in rural and underserved areas. Together, they participate in weekly teleECHO clinics that combine didactic teaching with mentoring and case-based learning.
The ECHO Act aims to better integrate the Project ECHO model into health systems across the country.
According to the bill’s sponsor, “On a recent visit to southern Utah, I had the opportunity to visit a rural health center and speak to some of the families that rely on services included in the ECHO Act. Some of these individuals had health conditions that required specialized care or could be managed much closer to home by health professionals they know and trust. By using technology to connect patients and providers, this bill will benefit Utah’s families by helping them receive the care they need, when they need it. I’m grateful for the valuable input Utah’s health leaders have provided in crafting this proposal.”
An official Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimate is not currently available. However, CBO estimates that enacting S. 2873 would not affect direct spending or revenues.
For questions or further information please contact Jake Vreeburg with the House Republican Policy Committee by email or at 6-1828.