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ATA Applauds Congressional Proposal to Increase Telemedicine Reimbursement, Fix Licensure for Federal Health Programs
Date:12/31/2012

Washington, DC (PRWEB) December 31, 2012

The American Telemedicine Association strongly endorses a comprehensive bill, introduced today in the U.S. House of Representatives, which would increase federal support and payments for telehealth services. The Telehealth Promotion Act of 2012 (H.R. 6719,) sponsored by Representative Mike Thompson (D-CA 1), would establish a federal reimbursement policy, wherein “no [medical] benefit covered shall be excluded solely because it is furnished via a telecommunications system.” If passed, the bill would increase access to telemedicine within Medicare, Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), TRICARE, federal employee health plans and the Department of Veterans Affairs.

In addition to removing arbitrary coverage restrictions to telemedicine, the Thompson bill provides a new federal standard for medical licensure. Consistent with legislation already passed by Congress for military healthcare, providers in all federal health plans would only need to be licensed in the state of their physical location and would be free to treat eligible patients anywhere in the nation.

“This is a major step forward in Congressional support for telemedicine and would extend the benefits of telehealth and mHealth to nearly 75 million Americans,” said Jonathan Linkous, Chief Executive Officer of the American Telemedicine Association. “Representative Thompson clearly understands that telemedicine is a 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.”

The bill also proposes a series of improvements in existing Medicare and Medicaid programs, all of which would significantly augment the role and impact of telemedicine. These changes include:

  • incentivizing hospitals to lower readmission
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