Telehealth Providers Say New Bill Will Cut Down on Costs

Support for new legislation on telemedicine will cut Medicare and Medicaid costs, the American Telemedicine Association said this week in response to a bill introduced by four members of Congress that would cover some tele health services under Medicare payment bundles for post-acute care. 

H.R 3306, The Telehealth Enhancement Act of 2013, introduced October 22 by Reps. Gregg Harper (R-MS), Mike Thompson (D-CA), Devin Nunes (R-CA) and Peter Welch (D-VT) would improve existing tele health coverage, in five ways in particular, said Jonathan Linkous, CEO of ATA 

“We appreciate the representatives’ leadership to craft a budget-sensitive package with strategic measures that will improve healthcare accessibility and affordability,” Linkous said. “These provisions are critical to the future of healthcare in the U.S. in that they will save Medicare and Medicaid dollars, and improve lives.”


Among the specific benefits outlines by ATA: addition of incentives for fewer Medicare hospital readmissions; new Medicaid optional package for high-risk pregnancy and birth networks; coverage of telehealth services under Medicare payment bundles for post-acute care; allowance of Medicare accountable care organizations (ACOs) to use telehealth like Medicare managed care plans; and facilitation of Medicare home-based kidney dialysis. 

The bill has been referred to the Committee on Energy and Commerce, and the Committee on Ways and Means.

Written by Elizabeth Ecker


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