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House Lawmakers Introduce Bill To Expand Medicare Telehealth Services

Posted on Thursday, July 16, 2015 10:44 AM

Earlier this week, lawmakers introduced the Medicare Telehealth Parity Act (H.R. 2948), a bill to expand telehealth services for Medicare beneficiaries. The bill is intended to increase the availability of telehealth services under Medicare which many think is limited under the current policy. At this time, only select practitioners are permitted to provide telehealth services, and only in certain rural and metropolitan shortage areas. Additionally, key technologies like the Remote Patient Monitory, are not covered under telehealth services. Supporters of the new legislation said in a press release their goal is to put telehealth services "on the path toward parity with in-person health care visits." The bipartisan proposal would expand telehealth over three phases. Phase one would expand it under Medicare for video conferencing and technologies known as store-and-forward which allows clinical information such as videos, data, and x-rays to be stored and sent to another site for evaluation. Phase two would expand telehealth services under Medicare coverage for video conferencing and store-and-forward technologies in counties with populations of 50,000-100,000. The third and final phase would expand these services to counties located in metropolitan statistical areas with populations over 100,000. The measure would help address shortages in access to care, and would also help reduce costs and improve the quality of care. Click here to read more.

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