NEW PHILADELPHIA Dover, Oh

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U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson met with CEO Bruce James and employees during a recent visit to Cleveland Clinic Union Hospital. (Office of Congressman Bill Johnson)

DOVER (WJER) - Congressman Bill Johnson was at Cleveland Clinic Union Hospital in Dover this week to learn about the facility’s telehealth services. 

Telehealth refers to using telecommunications and information technology for long-distance health care. Johnson says it has been a focus of his in Washington, D.C.

“Telehealth is a way to get access to quality healthcare to rural America. It solves a problem that we can’t solve any other way. We have a shortage of specialty providers, a shortage of family practitioners,” he says.

Johnson says he was impressed with what he saw here. he says he talked to staff members who discussed issues with telehealth services, such as lack of access to broadband internet in rural areas.

“The situation with broadband did not surprise me at all. What did surprise me was how much telehealth integration has already taken place at Cleveland Clinic Union Hospital,” he says. “They’re well on their way.”  

Johnson says he will share the local concerns in Washington, D.C., where he will work to remove barriers to telehealth access.

“We haven't made as much progress as I would like to see because still a very, very large swath of eastern and southeastern Ohio is still unserved or underserved,” he says.

Johnson says the government has spent billions on expanding broadband since 2011, but he says more work needs to be done.

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