Klobuchar’s bill — the ACCESS Act — would help to facilitate “virtual visits” between seniors and their loved ones and increase telehealth access for nursing homes 

MINNEAPOLIS — Today, U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar hosted a press conference at the Good Samaritan Specialty Care Community in Robbinsdale. Klobuchar was joined by AARP Minnesota State Director Will Phillips and Good Samaritan Specialty Care Administrator Julie Organ to highlight the need to keep our seniors connected with their loved ones during the coronavirus pandemic and further support access to telehealth services.

“Life has changed and we know that,” Klobuchar said at the press conference. “Right now, we’re not just focused on this week and this month—but on how in this next year we are going to keep our seniors safe and make sure they’re not completely isolated.” 

“AARP thanks Senator Klobuchar for introducing the bipartisan ACCESS Act,” Will Phillips, AARP Minnesota State Director said. “Getting the needed technology and other support into long term care facilities will help enable more virtual visits between families, ensure the health and safety of residents, and provide peace of mind for families. The ACCESS Act also recognizes the important role telehealth can play.  We need action now to protect the health and safety of residents and staff in our nation’s nursing homes.” 

“The Good Samaritan Society has always focused on caring for the whole person —  mind, body and soul,” Julie Organ, Good Samaritan Specialty Care Administrator said. “We know how important social connection is to our residents' overall health so we knew we had to come up with creative solutions to fight the threat of isolation when we closed our doors to visitors due to COVID-19. The iPads that were provided to us have helped us facilitate approximately 10,000 virtual visits across the Society with providers, family members and residents. The ACCESS Act will help bring this much needed technology to nursing facilities across the country during times when in person visits are just not possible.”

In March, Klobuchar introduced the Advancing Connectivity during the Coronavirus to Ensure Support for Senior (ACCESS Act) to enhance telehealth support for seniors and increase access to technology for "virtual visits" during the coronavirus pandemic. The ACCESS Act would help protect one of the most vulnerable populations from risking exposure to the virus when accessing remote health care and connecting with loved ones.  

The ACCESS Act is endorsed by AARP, the Center for Medicare Advocacy, Justice in Aging, the Long Term Care Community Coalition, and the National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care.

Last month, Klobuchar and Senator Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA) introduced the Senior Corps Distance Volunteering Act that will help ensure seniors can continue to safely volunteer during the coronavirus pandemic.

In May, Klobuchar (D-MN) and Senator Jerry Moran (R-KS) introduced The Protecting Seniors from Emergency Scams Act to protect seniors from scams during the coronavirus pandemic. The Protecting Seniors from Emergency Scams Act directs the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to report to Congress on scams targeting seniors during the coronavirus pandemic and make recommendations on how to prevent future scams during emergencies. 

Klobuchar also led a bipartisan letter with Moran and 32 colleagues urging FTC Chairman Joseph Simons to protect seniors from coronavirus-related scams, better inform consumers about scams, and assist victims in understanding their recourse options to ensure that seniors are protected from those attempting to financially exploit them during this public health crisis.