Congresswoman Monica De La Cruz Co-Sponsors Bill to Expand Virtual Healthcare to Rural Texans

Congresswoman Monica De La Cruz (TX-15) recently joined a bipartisan group of representatives to introduce H.R. 7149, the Equal Access to Specialty Care Everywhere Act (EASE). This legislation is just one of many bipartisan healthcare access bills co-sponsored by De La Cruz in the 118th Congress.

The EASE Act proposes utilizing existing funds from the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation fund to pilot a virtual specialty network to deliver various virtual healthcare options. These include clinical decision support, eConsults, and telehealth collaborating with primary care providers in underserved and rural areas like Texas, including Federally Qualified Health Centers, Rural Health Clinics, and Community Health Clinics.

Given the ongoing shortage of specialists, this legislation seeks to enhance patient access to specialty care services such as cardiology, neurology, and endocrinology, particularly for managing conditions like diabetes and chronic heart disease. Furthermore, it aims to mitigate wait times, reduce unnecessary emergency room visits, and enhance care coordination for beneficiaries of Medicare and Medicaid.

"I am proud to be an original cosponsor of the EASE Act, which I believe is a significant step toward improving healthcare access and quality in Texas and across America,” said De La Cruz. “The EASE Act is a crucial piece of legislation that seeks to leverage virtual modalities, including telehealth, to expand patient access to life-saving specialty healthcare. In today's rapidly evolving healthcare landscape, it is essential that we ensure all our constituents have access to the specialized medical services they need, regardless of their location or circumstances. It aligns with our shared goal of making healthcare more accessible, efficient, and patient-centered. I thank Rep. Michelle Steel and our bipartisan co-sponsors for their work on this issue, and I look forward to this bill's passage."

Other healthcare access bills introduced and co-sponsored by Congresswoman Monica De La Cruz since January 2023 include:

  • H.R. 1582: Personal Health Investment Today (PHIT) Act

  • H.R. 1770: Equitable Community Access to Pharmacist Services Act

  • H.R. 2365: National Plan to End Parkinson's Act

  • H.R. 2407: Nancy Gardner Sewell Medicare Multi-Cancer Early Detection Screening Coverage Act

  • H.R. 2665: Supporting Safety Net Hospitals Act

  • H.R. 2923: Living Donor Protection Act of 2023

  • H.R. 3561: PATIENT Act of 2023

  • H.R. 3842: Expanding Access to Diabetes Self-Management Training Act of 2023

  • H.R. 4261: ARC Act of 2023

  • H.R. 4262: CHAMPVA Online Act

  • H.R. 4713: Rural Hospital Technical Assistance Program Act

  • H.R. 4989: Health Babies Act of 2023

  • H.R. 5066: Tech to Save Moms Act

  • H.R. 5256: Medicare Access to Rural Anesthesiology Act of 2023

  • H.R. 5530: VA Emergency Transportation Access Act

  • H.R. 6227: Adding Coccidioidomycosis to the FDA Priority Review Voucher Program Act of 2023

  • H.R. 6683: Preserving Seniors’ Access to Physicians Act of 2023

  • H.R. 7300: To amend title V of the Social Security Act to extend funding for the family-to-family health information centers


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