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ATA to Launch Congressional Series on Federal Telemedicine Issues

January 25, 2016
by Rajiv Leventhal
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Starting next month, the American Telemedicine Association (ATA) will hold a bi-monthly briefing series for Congress, federal agencies, national organizations, and other interested stakeholders on current issues in telemedicine policy.

To meet the growing interest in using telemedicine to improve healthcare delivery, ATA will hold its first Telehealth Capitol Connection (TCC) forum on Feb. 10. The first briefing will address Major Congressional Telehealth and Remote Monitoring Proposals, in which Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) and key congressional staff will address proposals to improve Medicare coverage, especially in value-based models, according to an ATA press release.

“Telehealth is rapidly expanding—and bridging the gap between better information and smart policy development is precisely why this new Capitol Hill briefing series was formed,” Jonathan Linkous, CEO, American Telemedicine Association, said in a statement. “Telehealth Capitol Connection will provide a bipartisan forum to draw together congressional staff, policy leaders, and industry experts.”

Neal Neuberger, executive director of the Institute for e-Health Policy, and president of Health Tech Strategies LLC, will lead Telehealth Capitol Connection. According to ATA, Neuberger sees the TCC as the best forum for sharing the latest telehealth information and trends, as well as facilitating important public policy dialogue among congressional staffers, state and federal agency leaders, trade associations, organizations, industry leaders, academicians, providers and the patients they serve.

Earlier this month, the American Medical Association (AMA) released a list of the top nine issues physicians should follow closely in 2016 and a number of health IT issues, with telemedicine making the list. AMA said telemedicine will see more widespread use in the upcoming year, citing its intention to advance the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact of the Federation of State Medical Boards, which facilitates state licensure for telemedicine.

Undoubtedly, the telemedicine policy picture is ever-changing. To this end, in a feature story in the September/October issue of Healthcare Informatics’ magazine, HCI Senior Contributing Editor David Raths found that the telehealth policy is improving slowly but surely; nonetheless, state policies on telehealth are still not comprehensive, Raths reported. 

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