To the Editor:
The COVID-19 pandemic has revolutionized the use of telemedicine. As a board-certified urologist seeing patients from small towns and rural areas of Bell, Lampasas, and Coryell counties, I have seen firsthand the advancements and benefits of telehealth in the last year.
Patients living in remote areas of Texas now have improved access to high-quality medical care and can see a physician with better ease and convenience than ever before.
Many of my patients do not have to drive in to see me for every visit. I can assess them virtually and determine if they need to be seen in the nearest ER, or if they do need to see me in-person for an urgent appointment or on a routine basis.
I have built telehealth appointments into my weekly clinical schedule and intend to continue to see patients in this manner for the foreseeable future.
In 2019, Sen. Dawn Buckingham championed an effort to expand telemedicine and telehealth services in Texas that paved the way for this improved access when we needed it most.
Continuing to invest in and incentivize physician-led clinics to use telemedicine, like in House Bill 4, and expanding access to broadband in rural and underserved communities, like in House Bill 5 — is the right move for Texas and the overall health of our citizens.
Our lawmakers are applying lessons learned from this global health crisis and are prioritizing access to the highest quality care available to patients.
Cathy McLaughlin, MD