HARRISBURG – The Senate recently approved legislation aimed at promoting telemedicine in Pennsylvania as a way to overcome barriers to quality patient care created by distance, and reduce costs of those services, according to State Senator Doug Mastriano (R-33).
Senator Mastriano explained that telemedicine is the delivery of health care services via advanced technologies, such as apps, Skype and Facetime.
The bill establishes guidelines regarding who can provide telemedicine services, and provides clarity regarding insurance company reimbursement for those services.
“Legislation like this will help modernize the health care industry in Pennsylvania,” said Mastriano, who represents Adams County, as well as portions of Franklin, Cumberland and York counties in the Senate.
“Through the use of telemedicine, specialists and other health care providers are able to expand their reach, especially with rural patients,” added Mastriano. “This bill will help rural patients stay in their communities, instead of traveling long distances for specialized care.”
While Senate Bill 857 would make substantial changes in the health care industry, physicians and other health care practitioners delivering telemedicine services would still be required to follow standard state licensure and medical practice laws, and associated requirements, in Pennsylvania.
Studies have demonstrated that telemedicine can vastly improve the availability of health care options for people in urban or rural areas, lower the cost of health care and strengthen the bond between patients and their doctors. Telemedicine is especially vital for patients who suffer from chronic illness, seniors who are homebound and families who reside in rural areas where they would have to travel far to receive medical care.
The bill is supported by the Hospital and Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania, the PA Medical Society and AARP. Senate Bill 857 now goes to the House of Representatives for consideration.
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