Pennsylvania Senate Committee Unanimously Approves State Telemedicine Legislation
February 2018 ~
A Pennsylvania bill that outlines the states telemedicine guidelines around who can provide telemedicine services, and offers clarity around insurance company reimbursement for telehealth services has gained unanimous approval from the Senate Banking and Insurance Committee.
Senate Bill 780, or The Telemedicine Act, approved on January 30th, specifically defines telemedicine as “the delivery of health care services provided through telecommunications technology to a patient by a healthcare practitioner who is at a different location.”
The bill has been designed to promote telemedicine and remove barriers from care for people who live in remote areas and establishes guidelines regarding who can provide telemedicine services, and provides clarity regarding insurance company reimbursement for those services.
Under the proposal, health care practitioners would be able to do diagnoses, prevention, treatment, cure or relief of any health condition, injury, disease or illness. The bill also establishes that if an in-person service is covered by insurance, its telemedicine equivalent must also be covered. These coverage requirements are expected to bring more consistency to the reimbursement process, while avoiding government interference in rate-setting for health care services.
The Hospital & Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania (HAP) and the Pennsylvania Medical Society have expressed their full support of the legislation and partnered with the bill sponsor to refine language. HAP president and CEO Andy Carter issued a statement saying, “HAP applauds Sen. Vogel for his effort to provide health care consumers with greater choice and flexibility in receiving the care they need. We encourage all policymakers to support the measure as it moves forward.”
The bill currently awaits consideration by the full Senate.
Source(s): Hospital Association of Pennsylvania; Illinois Senate; Wallaby;