A bill to expand Medicare and Medicaid coverage of telehealth services that was introduced in the waning days of the last Congress will be reintroduced in the new Congress.
The Telehealth Promotion Act of 2012 would eliminate federal medical exclusions for care "furnished via a telecommunications system." Rep. Mike Thompson (D-Calif.) introduced the bill four days before the last Congress ended this week. But a Thompson spokesman told Modern Healthcare that the congressman will reintroduce it in the current Congress.
The bill, which drew the support of the Washington-based American Telemedicine Association, is intended to increase access to telemedicine within Medicare, Medicaid, the Children's Health Insurance Program, TRICARE, federal employee health plans and the U.S. Veterans Affairs Department.
"This bill represents a panacea for federal involvement in telemedicine, eliminating archaic barriers and expanding opportunities for remote healthcare," Jonathan Linkous, CEO of the ATA, said in a news release. "If passed, this bill will almost instantly make our federally funded health system more effective and more efficient."