Mayo Clinic testifies in Minnesota legislature about telemedicine bill

Representatives from the Mayo Clinic testified to the Minnesota Health and Human Services Committee regarding a proposed bill that would require payers to treat telemedicine the same as in-person services.

Mayo Clinic, based in Rochester, Minn., treats patients nationwide and is a proponent of the use of telemedicine. Dr. Steve Ommen, MD, the medical director of Center for Connected Care at Mayo Clinic and a practicing cardiologist, testified before the board to push for the passage of the bill.

Dr. Ommen called for a more simple licensing procedure for telemedicine to improve how quickly clinics can provide care. The process is now onerous and limits how many patients can be treated by telemedicine, he said.

"As you know, [Mayo Clinic is] situated an hour from two state lines in Minnesota," Dr. Ommen said at the hearing. "We're acutely aware of the issues of transferring on-site care to when patients go back home to their own residences. If you happen to live on the wrong side of the state line, depending on the physician on duty that day, you might not be able to receive telemedicine services."

The proposed bill is similar to bills in 22 other states and one in the District of Columbia that require public and private payers to treat telemedicine services the same as face-to-face services. It would require payers to treat telemedicine services the same as face-to-face services and pay the same rates for both, according to the Minnesota Hospital Association.

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