Telemedicine Bill Sent to Governor

HARRISBURG – As Pennsylvania continues to cope with the impact of COVID-19, the Senate today (April 21, 2020) gave final approval to a bill that promotes telemedicine as a way to overcome barriers to quality patient care created by distance and reduce the costs of those services, according to Senator Bob Mensch (R-24).

Senate Bill 857, which now goes to the Governor for enactment into law, specifically defines telemedicine as “the delivery of health care services provided through telecommunications technology to a patient by a healthcare practitioner who is at a different location.” It also establishes guidelines regarding who can provide telemedicine services, and provides clarity regarding insurance company reimbursement for those services.

“I’ve seen how healthcare facilities use telemedicine to care for patients. I’ve used it myself during this public health emergency. Telemedicine facilitates the exchange of information between patient and doctor, expands access to services in rural areas, and increases efficiency,” Mensch said. “The legislation has been in the works for years. Let’s finally make this crucial service available to Pennsylvanians who need it.”

While Senate Bill 857 makes 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.

COVID-19 changed the landscape for medicine in Pennsylvania. Many routine in office services are not available for patients. Telemedicine can vastly improve the availability of healthcare options for people in rural or urban areas.

The bill is supported by the Hospital and Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania, the Pennsylvania Medical Society and AARP.

For more information on Senator Mensch’s legislation, visit www.senatormensch.com.  State updates can also be found on Senator Mensch’s Facebook at facebook.com/PASenatorBobMensch/ or Twitter @SenatorMensch.

 

CONTACT: Madison Scarfaro mscarfaro@pasen.gov  (215) 541-2388