Sunday, April 20, 2008

ATA Supports Telehealth Bill

The American Telemedicine Association (ATA) is actively supporting the Medicare Telehealth Improvement Act of 2008 (S.2812) introduced by Senator Kent Conrad (D-ND) and co-sponsored by Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and John Thune (R-SD). The Senators introduced the legislation to help make important and needed improvements to the Medicare telehealth program.

Fortunately, the bill announcement was timed to coincide with the ATA 2008 Annual Meeting held in April 6-8 in Seattle. “The timing of the bill was excellent, coming on the eve of our annual meeting with 2400 in attendance” said Jonathan D. Linkous, ATA’s Executive Director.

S 2812 would expand Medicare reimbursement for telemedicine in several ways:

· The bill would add skilled nursing facilities, dialysis centers, and community mental health centers to the list or originating sites so the benefits of telemedicine could be provided

· The bill would make additional healthcare providers eligible to provide telemedicine care under Medicare. The new providers would include physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech-language pathologists, audiologists, and diabetes educators

The proposed bill would also create an advisory committee to help CMS assess what telemedicine services would be eligible for Medicare reimbursement. Dr. Elizabeth A. Krupinski, and President of ATA, said “We believe that having an advisory committee of telemedicine providers to assist CMS in making these determinations will improve the process and ensure that patients have access to appropriate care.”

For more information on the bill or ATA, contact Reed Franklin at (202) 223-3333 or email