HARRISBURG – The Senate today gave final approval to a bill that promotes telemedicine as a way to overcome barriers to quality patient care created by distance and reduce the costs of those services, according to State Senator Doug Mastriano (R-33).
Senate Bill 857, which now goes to the Governor for enactment into law, specifically defines telemedicine as “the delivery of health care services provided through telecommunications technology to a patient by a healthcare practitioner who is at a different location.”
It also establishes guidelines regarding who can provide telemedicine services, and provides clarity regarding insurance company reimbursement for those services.
“Through the use of telemedicine, specialists and other health care providers are able to expand their reach, especially with rural patients,” said Mastriano. “This bill will help rural patients stay in their communities, instead of traveling long distances for specialized care.”
While the legislation makes substantial changes in the health care industry, physicians and other health practitioners delivering telemedicine services would still be required to follow standard state licensure and medical practice laws and requirements in Pennsylvania.
COVID-19 changed the landscape for medicine in Pennsylvania. Many routine in-office services are not available for patients. Telemedicine can vastly improve the availability of healthcare options for people in rural or urban areas.
The bill is supported by the Hospital and Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania, the Pennsylvania Medical Society and AARP.
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