Senate Re-introduces Bill to Expand Telehealth Services

April 2017 ~

The Telehealth Innovation and Improvement Act hopes to expand existing telehealth services for Medicare patients by improving Medicare reimbursements and encouraging healthcare providers to launch telehealth programs through the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS)’ Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation.

Introduced by Senators Cory Gardner of Colorado and Gary Peters of Michigan on March 30, the bill would require the DHHS to allow selected, eligible hospitals to offer telehealth services in cooperation with the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI), which develops and tests new service delivery models for cost, effectiveness, and improvement in quality of care.  Models that are successful under the CMMI’s criteria could be expanded and covered by the Medicare program.

A similar telehealth legislation was introduced in the House in 2015, but never given a hearing or voted on. The Senators say the overall goal in re-introducing the bill is to improve access to healthcare for rural Medicare beneficiaries, who sometimes live far away from hospitals and medical centers.  The bill’s sponsors also believe the proposed legislation will lower health care costs and reduce emergency room visits, hospitalizations and readmissions.


Source(s): MobiHealthNews; Healthcare Informatics; HealthcareDIVE; mHealthIntelligence; Modern Healthcare;