Legislation Introduced to Eliminate Barriers for Telehealth Adoption in Rural Areas | Healthcare Informatics Magazine | Health IT | Information Technology Skip to content Skip to navigation

Legislation Introduced to Eliminate Barriers for Telehealth Adoption in Rural Areas

May 8, 2017
by Heather Landi
| Reprints

Congressman Sean Duffy (R-WI) introduced legislation that aims to expand reimbursement for telehealth services to rural clinics and metropolitan statistical areas with 70,000 people or fewer and also adds Medicare coverage for remote patient monitoring of congestive heart failure and chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder.

Rep. Duffy, chairman of the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Housing and Insurance, introduced the bill, called the Helping Expand Access to Rural Telehealth (HEART) Act, to eliminate barriers for the adoption of telehealth services in rural areas, according to a press release from Rep. Duffy’s office.

“People in rural areas across America have been left behind, and they deserve access to modern medical practices. The HEART Act will help Americans improve healthcare quality and contact with healthcare professionals, regardless of where they live,” Duffy said in a statement.

According to data provided in the press release, telehealth video consultations are expected to grow from 19.7 million in 2014 to a projected 158.4 million by 2020. The number of telemedicine visits provided to Medicare beneficiaries increased by 28 percent per year from 2004 to 2013, for a total of 107,000 visits provided in 2013.

Telemedicine is important in rural communities, as over 40,000 rural Medicare beneficiaries received at least one telemedicine visit in 2013. In addition, MedPAC Commissioners in 2016 noted the benefits of telehealth for patients, including less time lost due to travel and greater convenience, and expressed concern that Medicare may be proceeding too cautiously on coverage of telehealth services.

The annual cost to deploy the telehealth program in 2012 was $1,600 per patient per year, compared to over $13,000 for traditional home-based care and over $77,000 for nursing home care. Between 2006 and 2009, Medicare saved $670 million and avoided 20,500 readmissions by discharging chronic patients to home health services instead of traditional post-acute care models, according to Rep. Duffy.

 

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

Study will Leverage Connecticut HIE to Help Prevent Suicides

A new study will aim to leverage CTHealthLink, a physician-led health information exchange (HIE) in Connecticut, to help identify the factors leading to suicide and to ultimately help prevent those deaths.

Duke Health First to Achieve HIMSS Stage 7 Rating in Analytics

North Carolina-based Duke Health has become the first U.S. healthcare institution to be awarded the highest honor for analytic capabilities by HIMSS Analytics.

NIH Releases First Dataset from Adolescent Brain Development Study

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced the release of the first dataset from the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) study, which will enable scientists to conduct research on the many factors that influence brain, cognitive, social, and emotional development.

Boston Children's Accelerates Data-Driven Approach to Clinical Research

In an effort to bring a more data-driven approach to clinical research, Boston Children’s Hospital has joined the TriNetX global health research network.

Paper Records, Films Most Common Type of Healthcare Data Breach, Study Finds

Despite the high level of hospital adoption of electronic health records and federal incentives to do so, paper and films were the most frequent location of breached data in hospitals, according to a recent study.

AHA Appoints Senior Advisor for Cybersecurity and Risk

The American Hospital Association (AHA) has announced that John Riggi has joined the association as senior advisor for cybersecurity and risk.