Senator Hatch's ECHO Act unanimously passes Senate

Salt Lake City, Utah- (ABC4 Utah) – An effort to increase access to quality health care for rural Americans takes a major step forward in the U.S. Senate.

The Expanding Capacity for Health Outcomes, or ECHO Act is being sponsored by Utah Senator, Orrin Hatch.

He got on board after he was approached by medical experts at the University of Utah.

If it passes rural health care could be getting a technological boost.

"By connecting doctors and nurses with teams of experts patients can receive the care they need, when they need it. And most importantly patients won't have to travel long distances to receive treatments," said Hatch, (R) Utah.

The bill would expand opportunities for providers in rural and under-served communities to connect with, and learn from a network of specialists.

Hatch says the idea is already being put to good use in Utah.

"Medical experts based at the University of Utah use video conferencing to train health care professionals who are hundreds, sometimes even thousands of miles away," said Hatch.

Hatch is teaming up with Democratic Senator, Brian Schatz of Hawaii.

"I encourage my colleagues to continue to join us in supporting this revolutionary health care model," said Schatz.

Because when it comes to quality care, Hatch says it shouldn't come down to party lines.

"Our proposal is not political, rather it is the combination of a broad bipartisan effort to bring about meaningful health care reform that will benefit families across the country in red states and blue states a like," said Hatch.

The bill breezed through the Senate today on a unanimous vote, 97-0.

It is now off to the House for consideration.

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