Sunday, January 6, 2013

New Telehealth Bill Introduced

On December 30th, Representative Mike Thompson (D-CA) introduced the “Telehealth Promotion Act of 2012” (H.R. 6719) in the House to promote and expand the application of telehealth under Medicare and other Federal healthcare programs. The Act would fix two existing barriers to telemedicine in federal health programs that apply to reimbursement and physician licensure. The passage of the bill would extend the benefits of telehealth and mHealth to nearly 75 million Americans.

If passed, the restriction on coverage of services provided by a telecommunication system would be removed for:

  • Medicare and Medicaid
  • CHIP
  • Federal employees health, dental, and vision benefits programs
  • Department of Veterans Affairs
ATA applauds the legislation to increase telemedicine reimbursement and fix licensure for Federal health programs. According to Jonathan Linkous, CEO for ATA, “Representative Thompson clearly understands that telemedicine is of value for patients, for the government, and for the American tax payer. We encourage other legislators to support this win-win bill which will improve healthcare and decrease federal health expenditures.”

Linkous said, “This bill represents a panacea for federal involvement in telemedicine by eliminating archaic barriers and expanding more opportunities for remote healthcare. If passed, this bill will almost instantly make our federally-funded health system more effective and more efficient.”

ATA suggests that ATA members and all telemedicine stakeholders contact their Congressional representatives to provide support for the “Telehealth Promotion Act of 2012.”