ATA Execs Say Telehealth Policy Reform on Lawmakers’ Radar

July 30, 2014 in News

During the American Telemedicine Association’s weekly telecast on Tuesday, ATA executives said that telehealth policy reform legislation is a key priority for many lawmakers, Clinical Innovation Technology reports (Pedulli, Clinical Innovation Technology, 7/30).

Medicare Telehealth Coverage Bill Details

For example, Reps. Mike Thompson (D-Calif.) and Glenn Thompson (R-Pa.) plan to introduce bipartisan legislation that would incrementally allow Medicare to cover telehealth and remote patient monitoring services.

The bill would amend Title XVIII of the Social Security Act, which limits government-reimbursed telehealth services to rural areas and certain cases, to gradually expand telehealth services covered under Medicare over a four-year period.

In addition, the bill would expand Medicare reimbursable services to include remote patient management services for chronic health conditions, such as:

  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease;
  • Congestive heart failure; and
  • Diabetes (iHealthBeat, 7/24).

Other Upcoming Telehealth Measures

Meanwhile, ATA Senior Director of Public Policy Gary Capistrant also highlighted a new initiative from the House Committee on Energy and Commerce called “21st Century Cures.”

According to Capistrant, the initiative focuses on telehealth and includes a “broad-based exploration” of issues such as:

  • Biotech;
  • Electronic health records;
  • Genomics; and
  • Patient privacy.

Other related bills that lawmakers soon will consider include:

  • S. 2662, a companion bill to H.R. 3306, which aims to promote and expand the use of telehealth under federal health programs;
  • The TELE-MED Act of 2013 (H.R. 3077); and
  • The Veterans E-Health Telemedicine Support Act of 2013 (H.R. 2001) (Clinical Innovation Technology, 7/30).
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