(HARRISBURG) – As Pennsylvania continues to cope with the impact of COVID-19, the Senate today gave final approval to a bill that promotes telemedicine as a way to overcome barriers to quality patient care created by distance and reduce the costs of those services, according to State Senator Jake Corman (R-34). “We are in the midst of a public health crisis and never before has there been a more important time for us to have telemedicine,” Senator Corman said. “Not only to be able to avoid having to go into a medical facility but also because our hospitals are in need for this bill to be passed to help our medical facilities with their financial outlook.”
Senate Bill 857, which now goes to the Governor for enactment into law, specifically defines telemedicine as “the delivery of health care services provided through telecommunications technology to a patient by a healthcare practitioner who is at a different location.” It also establishes guidelines regarding who can provide telemedicine services, and provides clarity regarding insurance company reimbursement for those services.
While Senate Bill 857 makes substantial changes in the health care industry, physicians and other health practitioners delivering telemedicine services would still be required to follow standard state licensure and medical practice laws and requirements in Pennsylvania.
COVID-19 changed the landscape for medicine in Pennsylvania. Many routine in-office services are not available for patients. Telemedicine can vastly improve the availability of healthcare options for people in rural or urban areas.
The bill is supported by the Hospital and Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania, the Pennsylvania Medical Society and AARP.
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