|By Brian Heaton, Government Technology|
|McClatchy-Tribune Information Services|
Many of those issues have centered on properly reimbursing doctors who use telehealth and getting care providers and health insurance companies on the same page regarding when telehealth practice is appropriate. 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.
Below is a rundown of five federal and state measures that experts believe could have a significant impact on telehealth use in the U.S. if they become law.
On the federal level, H.R. 3077, the TELE-MED Act of 2013, was introduced on
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. Introduced on
"The importance of these bill[s] is that they affect the
Kwong also indicated that Rep.
State legislatures are circulating a number of different telehealth bills this year. Of note is House Bill 1158 in
Introduced late last year by Rep.
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. AB 1771 is currently in the
"When doctors are able to take the time for phone calls and emails from patients to answer their questions, it not only improves the patient experience, but it also reduces unneeded office visits," Pérez said in a statement. "In medically underserved areas like the