Sinema Discusses Importance and Challenges of Veterans’ Telehealth Care During the Coronavirus

Jul 29, 2020

WASHINGTON – Arizona senior Senator Kyrsten Sinema spoke today in a Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee hearing on the importance of VA telehealth during the coronavirus and the challenges around telehealth care, particularly in rural communities across Arizona where there is a lack of broadband.
“In Arizona, the VA health system covers a lot of rural areas and access to telehealth can be a major resource for so many in these areas. However, telehealth cannot work without access to broadband,” said Sinema. 
During today’s hearing Sinema asked witnesses how the VA is ensuring telehealth services provide high standards of care. Sinema also questioned witnesses about how the VA is working to overcome connectivity disparities.
Sinema has been a champion for expanding connectivity services, including broadband, across Arizona. During the coronavirus pandemic, Sinema has urged the administration to disburse unspent COVID-19 relief funds to boost rural broadband access in Arizona. Sinema is also a cosponsor of the bipartisan ACCESS BROADBAND Act—legislation that streamlines the broadband application process for Arizonans, expanding access to broadband services for rural and tribal communities.
Recently, Sinema introduced the Homeless Veterans Coronavirus Response Act of 2020 with Republican Senator Dan Sullivan (AK). The bipartisan legislation brings relief and resources to the Department of Veterans Affairs’ Homeless Program Office by expanding its authorities to provide food, transportation, and communications technologies and telehealth to homeless veterans and easing requirements that are especially onerous during the coronavirus pandemic.