House approves Burgess measure to harness technology to improve rural medical care

The House approved legislation spearheaded by U.S. Rep. Michael Burgess (R-TX) this week to advance videoconferencing continuing medical education to make quality health care more available in remote areas.

The House approved the Expanding Capacity for Health Outcomes (ECHO) Act, S. 2873. Burgess introduced the bill’s bipartisan House counterpart, H.R. 5395, with U.S. Rep. Doris Matsui (D-CA).

“The legislation will help improve our understanding of how technology-enabled medical education can strengthen the collaboration between specialty care doctors and primary care doctors helping them better serve their communities,” Burgess said.

“The most effective way to ensure widespread access to care is by harnessing models that have proven successful during implementation on a smaller scale, like that of Project ECHO,” he added.

Project Echo utilizes videoconferencing to connect teams of specialists to primary care providers in remote areas to provide mentoring, collaborative care and continuing education.

2873, which was introduced by U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and unanimously approved by the Senate last week, would take steps to integrate Project ECHO or similar models into health systems across the country.

Under the bill, the integration of technology-enabled collaborative learning and capacity building models would be studied and reported on to Congress.

“I am grateful for Congresswoman Matsui’s collaboration on this important legislation and that our fellow House members share in recognizing the importance of passing the ECHO Act this Congress,” Burgess said.