Sen. Capito, FCC Commissioner explore Telehealth and Broadband Access in West Virginia

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WOWK)- On Monday Senator Shelley Moore Capito welcomed FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr to West Virginia to show him the challenges West Virginia is facing in connecting and the solutions they’ve found in healthcare.

The Senator and the Commissioner started at Boone Memorial Hospital in Madison for a demonstration on their TeleStroke program. The program allows patients who come in to meet with a specialist via a video chat, saving them the time of driving to a bigger city like Charleston.

“Because West Virginia is such a rural state, it’s harder for many individuals living in more remote communities to access health care services. TeleMedicine is one way we can easily and effectively improve access to health care for so many West Virginians, but we have to have the connectivity and the infrastructure to provide these critical services,” said Senator Capito.

Boone Memorial Hospital launched their program in April but before that they had to combat the lack of broadband access, Senator Capito and Commissioner Carr recognized that to expand TeleHealth in West Virginia broadband will also need to expand.

“By improving our connectivity, we can not only improve our economy and West Virginians’ quality of life, but we can actually help save lives. I appreciate Commissioner Carr’s partnership in working to close the digital divide in West Virginia and across the country…” said Sen. Capito.

The two finished their tour at the Charleston Area Medical Center, where CAMC demonstrated a remote digital retina screening, afterwards a round table discussion was held.

“From TeleStroke applications that are reducing response times to remote ophthalmology services that lead to earlier detection of diabetes, TeleHealth is reducing costs and improving outcomes.  Senator Capito has been a leader in expanding access to broadband and TeleMedicine for West Virginia communities. I’m grateful that Senator Capito invited me to West Virginia to witness these innovations firsthand and learn more about how the FCC can help support the trend toward connected care,” said Commissioner Carr.

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