In the midst of changes that are happening on the senate level to alter the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), there are also plans to introduce some bills that involve telehealth. Specifically, a bill that is being sponsored by Doris Matsui (D) from California, and Bill Johnson (R) from Ohio will make telemedicine accessible and lower costs.
The bill is called the “Evidence-Based TeleHealth Expansion Act of 2017”. It was released in July and it aims to remove restrictions that Medicare has in place on the certain types of TeleHealth services in the event that it will save money. Some of the ways the bill will make TeleMedicine accessible, is by removing restrictions on location of the physician and patient, and store-and-forward technology. In case you are wondering, Store-and-Forward Technologies is where healthcare information and digital images are recorded for specific patients and are transferable through telephone, video, and other communication devices to a clinician who can offer a diagnosis and medical services.
The bill will also make healthcare accessible to patients by removing limitations on certain types of medical professionals who can offer TeleHealth medical services, as long as they are enrolled as Medicare providers. In addition to removing limitations on the types of medical professionals that are able to provide these services, the bill will help by eliminating limitations on codes designated as TeleMedicine Medical Services.
With the introduction of more technologies that make it easier to communicate, it seems medicine isn’t far behind.