Feds Fail At Funding Parity for Telehealth For Urban Residents

Media Advisory
July 14, 2020

Craig Settles                                                           
510-387-4176, craig@cjspeaks.com

11.9 million urban households have no access to telehealth but Federal agencies earmark billions for broadband and telehealth grants targeted to 3.8 million disconnected rural households. Urban communities seek parity with rural community for telehealth and broadband (highspeed Internet access), funding that tax dollars and telephone bills finance.

In the 111 largest US cities, African Americans and other people of color comprise 75% of the un-connected residents. People are marching in the streets saying how important it is that Black people have an even playing field. Maybe they can detour for a few days to bring this message to Federal agencies that fund the good health of rural communities while missing the mark in their funding of urban health.

Consumers cannot have telehealth without broadband. So any federal or state broadband funding that does not target urban constituents fails to deliver telehealth or broadband to them.

The FCC is financing broadband annually through the $2 BILLION Rural Digital Opportunity Fund. The agency has aRural Heath Care Program that’s being increased to over $1 billion this year, while the Senate wantsnone to add another $2 billion to this fund. Two U.S. Senators propose another $50 million to expand access to telehealth across rural America.

Where is the parity? The FCC’s Lifeline program that supports mainly low-income urban residents has been cut from $2.2 billion to slightly less than $1 billion.

African Americans are among the populations that need telehealth the most. For example, third of the US has high blood pressure, but 43% of African-American women and a slightly less percentage of Black men suffer from hypertension. Twice as many Black people die from strokes as all other ethnic groups combined!

A policy paper prepared by the National Digital Inclusion Alliance (NDIA) states, “The federal government’s existing broadband programs target tens of billions of dollars to expand broadband availability for residents of “unserved and underserved” rural areas, while studiously ignoring tens of millions of urban Americans who still lack high-speed internet service. It is structurally racist, discriminating against unconnected Black Americans and other communities of color.”

Mr. Settles is beginning a lobbying effort on Tuesday, July 14 with appropriate segments of Congress and federal agencies.

Saved from a stroke by telehealth, Craig Settles is paying it forward by uniting community broadband teams and healthcare stakeholders through telehealth initiatives. He’s a community broadband analyst and consultant assisting communities with broadband and telehealth planning.

The NDIA organization is a unified voice for home broadband access, public broadband access, personal devices and local technology training and support programs. Angela Seifer, Executive Director for NDIA discusses this funding inequity  on Mr. Settles’ Gigabit Nation Internet radio talk show.

This entry was posted in broadband policy, digital inclusion, funding broadband, General analysis, Implementation strategies, Legislative action, Strategic thinking, Telehealth, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

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  • Who’s Craig Settles?

    Industry analyst, expert broadband business strategist, runs on-site workshops to help clients create effective broadband plans.

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