Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Bill to Establish Task Force

Maryland State Senator E. J. Pipkin on February 4, 2011 introduced Senate Bill 406 to establish a Task Force in the state. The Task Force would study the use of telemedicine in medically underserved populations to determine how to use telemedicine efficiently, reduce the cost of health care, and how to mitigate health disparities in underserved populations in the state. HRSA has designated the portions of the state that are medically underserved or containing medically underserved populations.

Specifically, the Task Force would:

• Study the impact of the changing physician supply and address the increased demand for physicians in medically underserved populations

• Complete a cost-benefit analysis on the use of telemedicine in medically underserved populations. This analysis would look at the implementation and continued use of telemedicine, the impact of telemedicine on non-health related issues, such as the impact on the environment, and the feasibility of using a unified credentialing system for physicians, physician assistants, and nurse practitioners

• Collaborate with roundtables established to study the issues

• Review and consider any studies, reports, or other work regarding telemedicine in underserved areas as discussed and reported by the roundtables plus study any other topics that the Task Forces needs to make recommendations

The Task Force members would include the Chairs of the Senate Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs Committee, and the House Health and Government Operations Committee, Secretary of Health and Mental Hygiene, and the Director of Program Development for the Maryland Critical Care Network.

In addition, two representatives from the medical communities that serve medically underserved populations in the state or are located in medically underserved areas as designated by HRSA, two consumer members, two representatives from the health insurance industry, and one representative from the established roundtables would serve on the Task Force.