Chamber Supports Telemedicine Legislation

Legislation that would allow health care professionals to evaluate and treat patients remotely has been approved by both chambers of the State Legislature. Telemedicine is expected to improve access to health care, particularly specialists, and help control costs. The Chamber joined with Commonwealth Health and Geisinger in supporting this legislation.

Despite outstanding primary care facilities in our area, rural areas, and a lack of public transportation for the general public, can make access a challenge for a significant portion of the population. Additionally, wait times for specialized services, including behavioral health, can be months. Telemedicine would provide quicker access to services that could be life-saving.

Another benefit of telemedicine expressed by the health care industry is cost-control. Telemedicine is expected to reduce emergency room visits and expedite testing and diagnosis. Senate Bill 857 provides for appropriate insurance reimbursement for services that help patients more efficiently.

The legislation was approved by the Senate in later October with only one dissenting vote. An amended version passed in the House in November by a 111-77 vote. Representatives Kurt Masser and David Millard voted in favor. The amended bill is now back in the Senate for a concurrence vote.