Bipartisan Senate Bill Calls for Expanded Telehealth Services and Coverage | Healthcare Informatics Magazine | Health IT | Information Technology Skip to content Skip to navigation

Bipartisan Senate Bill Calls for Expanded Telehealth Services and Coverage

April 4, 2017
by Heather Landi
| Reprints

Senators Cory Gardner (R-CO) and Gary Peters (D-MI) introduced last week the Telehealth Innovation and Improvement Act legislation that would require the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI) to test the effect of including telehealth services in Medicare health care delivery reform models.

The bill (S. 787) requires the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to allow eligible hospitals to test telehealth services through the CMMI. Additionally, it directs CMMI to have an independent evaluation conducted to assess the telehealth models for cost, effectiveness, and improvement in quality of care without increasing the cost of delivery. If the telehealth model meets this criteria, then the model will be covered through the greater Medicare program.

According to a press release issued by Sen. Gardner, the bill would expand access to healthcare in both rural and urban areas by paving the way for Medicare to cover additional telehealth services. “Currently, Medicare covered limited telehealth services, setting a poor industry standard, discouraging innovation and restricting access to specialized services,” Gardner stated in the press release.

Sens. Gardner and Peters introduced similar legislation, S. 2343, in 2015, but the legislation did not pass out of the Senate.

“All Coloradans deserve access to health care services regardless of whether they live in rural or urban areas,” Gardner said in a prepared statement. “The Telehealth Innovation and Improvement Act would allow Medicare to expand coverage of telehealth services and increase access for people living in rural America. It would also incentivize the healthcare industry to develop new technologies that could potentially reduce costs and improve patient health. I’ll continue to work with my colleagues to advance this commonsense legislation that will help rural Coloradans access better care.”

 “Michigan seniors and families in rural and underserved communities are using telehealth technology to receive specialized and quality health care that otherwise would not be readily available,” Sen. Peters said in a statement. “This bipartisan, commonsense legislation has the potential to help expand access to care for Michigan seniors, lower health care costs and reduce costly emergency room visits, hospitalizations and readmissions.”

 

Get the latest information on Health IT and attend other valuable sessions at this two-day Summit providing healthcare leaders with educational content, insightful debate and dialogue on the future of healthcare and technology.

Learn More

Topics

News

Survey: Infrastructure, Interoperability Key Barriers to Global HIT Development

A new survey report from Black Book Research on global healthcare IT adoption and records systems connectivity finds nations in various phases of regional electronic health record (EHR) adoption. The survey results also reveal rapidly advancing opportunities for U.S.-based and local technology vendors.

Penn Medicine Opens Up Telehealth Hub

Philadelphia-based Penn Medicine has opened its Center for Connected Care to centralize the health system’s telemedicine activities.

Roche to Pay $1.9B for Flatiron Health

Switzerland-based pharmaceutical company Roche has agreed to pay $1.9 billion to buy New York-based Flatiron Health Inc., which has both an oncology EHR and data analytics platform.

Financial Exec Survey: Interoperability Key Obstacle to Value-Based Payment Models

Momentum continues to grow for value-based care as nearly three-quarters of healthcare executives report their organizations have achieved positive financial results from value-based payment programs, to date, according to a new study from the Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA).

Cerner, Children's National to Help UAE Pediatric Center with Health IT

Al Jalila Children's Specialty Hospital, the only pediatric hospital in the United Arab Emirates, has entered into an agreement with Washington, D.C.-based Children's National Health System to form a health IT strategic partnership.

Telemedicine Association Names New CEO

The American Telemedicine Association (ATA) has named Ann Mond Johnson its new CEO, replacing Jon Linkous who stepped down suddenly last August after 24 years as the organization’s CEO.