FCC commissioner met with Alaska health care providers

Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Commissioners Michael O'Rielly, left, and Brendan Carr, turn to answer a question from the media after an FCC meeting to vote on net neutrality, Thursday, Dec. 14, 2017, in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) – Alaska health care providers discussed rural telehealth systems with the Federal Communications Commission, which provides subsidies that help keep the systems in operation.

Alaska Public Media reports FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr met with the providers in Anchorage this week, saying the commission is raising the subsidy cap and working to process the payments more effectively.

Dr. Rachel Lescher, a pediatric endocrinologist, says the telehealth services allow her to diagnose patients who may be hundreds of miles away and unable to regularly see a doctor in person.

Rural health care providers had to shut down some services this year after the committed subsidies were less than one percent of what providers were anticipating.

Carr says the commission voted earlier this year to raise the cap from $400 million to $571 million.

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