Sunday, March 7, 2010

Telemedicine Legislation Passed

The Virginia State Legislature passed SB 675, a bill requiring reimbursement for telemedicine. SB675 mandates that health insurers will have to pay for telemedicine services and is expected to be signed by Governor McDonnnell into law.

According to SB 675, telemedicine services can be the use of interactive audio, video, or other electronic media for the purpose of diagnosis, consultation, or treatment. Utilization review may be undertaken to determine the appropriateness of telemedicine services.

“This is one more indication that telemedicine is now fully accepted by providers, policy makers, consumers and insurers as an important way to increase access, improve quality, and reduce costs, in the delivery of healthcare”, said Jonathan D. Linkous, CEO of the American Telemedicine Association.

Other states have adopted mandates covering telemedicine. Karen Rheuban, MD, President of ATA and Medical Director, Office of Telemedicine, and Senior Associate Dean for CME and External Affairs at the University of Virginia, is thankful to the leaders of the state legislature who have taken the bold step to improve the lives of the residents of Virginia.