Wednesday, February 29, 2012

States Introducing Telemedicine Bills

There are several states that have introduced bills specifically related to telemedicine in the current 2012 legislature session. These states include Maryland, Virginia, Tennessee, Michigan, Connecticut, Hawaii, and Arizona.

Several bills introduced in the Maryland legislature are:

• SB 817, would require reimbursement to licensed healthcare providers if they are providing telemedicine services
• SB781 and HB 1149 require insurers, non-profit health services plans and health maintenance organizations to provide same coverage for healthcare services done whether in person or by telemedicine
• HB 1399 involves hospitals and the issue of credentialing and privileging

Bills HJR 171 and HJR 119 were introduced in the Virginia legislature to establish a joint subcommittee to examine if telemedicine is used—then would telemedicine reduce costs.

In Tennessee, House Joint Resolution 58 was introduced by Representative Tony Shipley to encourage the implementation and use of telemedicine in the state.

The resolution specifically wants to expand the use of telemedicine to:

• Improve access to medical services by patients in all regions of the state
• Improve patient choices and experience in interacting with healthcare services
• Promote competitive healthcare delivery options
• Improve quality and efficiency
• Enable physicians and their staff to extend their reach to help patients in the state

Other state bills introduced include:

• Bills SB 3103 and HB 3719 introduced in Tennessee would require a report to be produced on the good and bad effects of telemedicine being used in the state

• Bills HB 5421 and HB 5408 introduced in Michigan would prohibit insurance companies from denying coverage for telemedicine services

• Hawaiian bill HB 1708 would authorize the emergency exam of a patient by telemedicine in remote areas of the state when an emergency situation requires hospitalization in a psychiatric facility

• Bills HB 2666 and SB 1414 were introduced in Arizona to deal with health insurance reimbursement issues involving telemedicine