Harrisburg – The Senate approved legislation aimed at promoting telemedicine in Pennsylvania as a way to overcome barriers to quality patient care created by distance and reduce the costs of those services, according to Sen. Bob Mensch (R-24).
Mensch said telemedicine is the delivery of health care services via advanced technologies, such as apps, Skype, and FaceTime.
The bill establishes guidelines regarding who can provide telemedicine services, and provides clarity regarding insurance company reimbursement for those services.
“Telemedicine can vastly improve access to health care services for residents of rural areas, the homebound and others,” Mensch said. “Passage of this legislation will allow patients across the commonwealth to use the technology in their homes to access health care miles away.”
While Senate Bill 857 would make substantial changes in the health care industry, physicians and other health practitioners delivering telemedicine services would still be required to follow standard state licensure and medical practice laws and requirements in Pennsylvania.
Studies have demonstrated that telemedicine can vastly improve the availability of health care options for people in rural or urban areas, lower the cost of health care, and strengthen the bond between patients and their doctors. Telemedicine is especially vital for patients who suffer from chronic illness, seniors who are homebound and families who live in rural areas where they would have to travel very far to receive medical care.
The bill is supported by the Hospital and Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania, the Pennsylvania Medical Society and AARP.
Senate Bill 857 now goes to the House of Representatives for consideration.
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