Bill for healthcare in rural locations

Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner John D. Doak is supporting the Expanding Capacity for Health Outcomes (ECHO) Act. The U.S. Senate passed the bill last week. It aims to increase access to healthcare in rural areas.

“Oklahomans deserve high-quality health care no matter where they live,” said Doak. “Giving doctors the ability to connect with more patients and learn from a network of specialists is a game changer. If this bill becomes law, location will no longer be a barrier to receiving expert medical care. I fully support this revolutionary health care model.”

Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Oklahoma, co-sponsored the bill which aims to integrate The University of New Mexico’s groundbreaking Project ECHO into health systems across the country. Through Project ECHO, specialists use video conferencing to consult with patients directly. The program also allows specialists at large medical centers to consult with primary care providers in rural areas about the best treatments for complex health conditions.

According to the bill’s authors, the legislation would address a number of rural health challenges including a shortage of doctors, higher rates of chronic diseases, transportation, connectivity and isolation.

The bill now heads to the House for discussion and possible vote.