5 Telehealth Bills to Watch

The practice of telehealth has increased in recent years as physicians and patients have become more comfortable meeting through video conferencing and other digital means. But as electronic health practices have grown, so have the legal and financial complexities that come with them. A number of bills have been introduced recently to address those issues and encourage adoption of telemedicine methods as a way to meet the rising demand for routine medical services.

  1. On the federal level, H.R. 3077, the TELE-MED Act of 2013 would enable certain Medicare providers licensed in a state to provide telemedicine services to Medicare beneficiaries in a different state. If the bill passes, it would help expand telemedicine opportunities for some people who live near state borders. Sponsored by Rep Devin Nunes, (R-CA), the bill currently sits in the US House of Representatives Subcommittee on Health.
  2. H.R. 3306, the Telehealth Enhancement Act of 2013, authorizes changes to federal law that make it easier for hospitals and patients to pay for and use telehealth services.
  3. Rep Mike Thompson (D-CA), has circulated a draft of a bill that would require Medicaid programs to reimburse for telehealth services that are included under state plans. The bill has not been formally introduced yet.
  4. House Bill 1158 in New Hampshire. The American Telemedicine Association described the legislation as something that will require managed care plans to offer financial incentives to beneficiaries who use less expensive services, such as telemedicine.
  5. California Assemblyman V. Manuel Pérez is sponsoring AB 1771, a bill that would require health insurance companies to reimburse physicians for phone and electronic patient visits. If the measure becomes law, it could potentially benefit doctors in rural areas where the number of patients greatly outnumbers available physicians.

5 Telehealth Bills to Watch