WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the Health IT Now Coalition commends Congressmen Devin Nunes and Frank Pallone, and Senators Mazie K. Hirono and Joni Ernst for their commitment to the health of countless Americans by introducing the TELEhealth for MEDicare (TELE-MED) Act of 2015. The Act allows Medicare providers to treat Medicare patients regardless of location without the need to obtain multiple state licenses.
Joel White, Executive Director of the Health IT Now Coalition, issued the following statement on the legislation: “The success of our healthcare system relies on how well we adapt to the modern era, which allows us to utilize new and innovative technology to patients’ unique needs. The TELE-MED Act is a crucial step forward toward achieving this goal by removing state barriers to providing telehealth services to patients.”
“The law needs to be updated to keep pace with technological advances in medicine” Congressman Nunesstated. “By reducing bureaucratic and legal barriers between Medicare patients and their doctors, this bill expands medical access and choice for America’s seniors and the disabled.”
“The TELE-MED Act is an important step towards a healthier America. By expanding the reach of existing medical resources, the legislation will provide access to large portions of the country that are currently underserved while enabling higher quality and more efficient care for all Medicare patients,” said Congressman Pallone. “The bill alleviates the problem of doctor shortages and brings the delivery of health care into the 21st Century by connecting providers and patients virtually.”
“As our country confronts a looming physician shortage, those of us in Hawaii are already feeling the pain of a lack of access to medical care in rural and underserved communities,” said Senator Mazie K. Hirono. “Hawaii residents are often forced to drive for hours to see their physician or spend thousands of dollars to fly to Oahu and the mainland to seek care from a specialist. For seniors, these long travel times are difficult and even impossible. The TELE-MED Act will help to eliminate the financial and physical stress of seeking quality medical care by allowing seniors access to Medicare-participating physicians from the convenience of their home or local doctor’s office.”
White concluded, “The antiquated physician licensure system hinders physicians from treating their patients remotely, particularly across state lines. Many Medicare patients, often due to medical, transportation, or financial restrictions, are unable to travel long distances to receive care. This bill brings the doctor to the patient wherever they may be, to help ensure all Medicare beneficiaries have access to care. Technological advances are moving telehealth into the mainstream. Many private payers, the DoD and VA all cover telehealth more robustly than Medicare. Enacting this simple, bipartisan change will help ensure that seniors, the disabled, and taxpayers can all benefit from these same advances that produce quality healthcare at lower costs.”
The Health IT Now Coalition applauds Congressmen Nunes and Pallone and Senators Hirono and Ernst for their leadership on this issue, and encourages all Members of Congress to work together to enact the TELE-MED Actinto law.
The Health IT Now Coalition promotes the rapid deployment of heath information technology. Health IT will benefit patients and health care consumers while supporting health practitioners to make smart decisions about patient care while promoting efficiency. For more information, visit www.healthitnow.org.