Telehealth Would Get Increased Federal Support Under Proposed House Bill

A recently proposed house bill, Telehealth Promotion Act of 2012 (HR 6719), would augment federal support for telehealth services across the country, according to a report by PhysBizTech.

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Mike Thompson (D-Calif.), would remove coverage restrictions for telemedicine; establish a federal reimbursement policy for telemedicine services within Medicare, Medicaid and other federal programs; and provide a new standard for medical licensure. According to the report, licensure changes in the bill would allow providers in all federal health plans to treat eligible patients anywhere in the nation with licensing for only the state of their physical location.

According to the report, the bill also proposes improvements to Medicare and Medicaid programs, such as incentivizing hospitals to lower readmissions with telemedicine, exempting accountable care organizations from telehealth fee-for services restrictions and creating a telemedicine service option in Medicaid to treat high-risk pregnancies.

Supporters of the bill cite its potential to reduce federal expenditures over the long term, but other members of Congress argue that additional expenditures should not be allocated while the U.S. national debt exceeds $16.3 trillion. According to the report, the future of the bill will depend on how Congress chooses to address the debt crisis.

More Articles on Telehealth Services:

Feds to Provide $1.9M in Funding for Telehealth Resource Centers
New Mexico Hospitals Receive Funds to Build Telehealth Broadband Network
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