Pennsylvania panel hears testimony on telemedicine bill

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Telemedicine is quickly becoming a popular way to receive health care. 

Patients see doctors without leaving the house, using online video conferencing services like Skype or Facetime, but not all insurers cover the services for Pennsylvanians.

The House Professional Licensure Committee heard testimony Wednesday as it considers a bill to expand telemedicine, Senate Bill 780. The measure unanimously passed the Senate in June.

“We shop on the internet. we bank on the internet. We should be able to see our doctor on the internet,” Dr. Judd Hollander said. 

The bill defines telemedicine, sets licensing requirements, and requires healthcare payers to provide reimbursement for telemedicine services.

Bill Johnston-Walsh is the state director of AARP Pennsylvania, which has almost two million members.

“We’re looking at this bill as more access for them, especially in the rural areas and the urban areas,” he said.

Roughly 800,000 Pennsylvanians do not have access to high-speed internet. That’s why the Pennsylvania State Grange, an advocacy group for rural Pennsylvanians, is pushing for a companion bill.

“We also hope that Pennsylvania will provide telemedicine with what it truly needs to be effective: universal access to broadband and adequate bandwidth to underserved areas,” the group said in a statement.
 

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