Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Legislation Moves on the Hill

On Tuesday June 24, 2008, Jonathan Linkous, CEO, American Telemedicine Association, sent out a Special Notice that the House passed H.R. 6331 by a landslide vote of 355-59. Section 149 in the bill contains provisions adding skilled nursing facilities, hospital-based dialysis centers, and community mental health centers as originating sites for Medicare telehealth reimbursement.

As reported by ATA, Senators Max Baucus (D-MT) and Charles Grassley (R-IA), the Chairman and Ranking Republican on the Senate Finance Committee announced that they have reached a compromise in their negotiations on the Medicare legislation but according to ATA, a written copy of the compromise has not yet been release.

However, ATA has learned from sources on the Hill that at least the skilled nursing facility provision and the hospital-based dialysis provision are in the compromise bill. ATA also thinks that by including the telemedicine language in both the House and Senate versions of the Medicare bill, it is likely that the telemedicine language will be included in the final legislation.

Jonathan Linkous wants to thank the many organizations and the ATA members that worked hard to see the passage of the legislation plus he wants to thank the many people that signed personal letters to get the legislation passed. He also wants to give his personal thanks to Reed Franklin, ATA’s Policy Director, for his perseverance and the countless hours that he spent on the Hill personally shepherding the provisions through the legislative process.