Congressional leaders and telemedicine advocates hope to take a fresh look this year at telemedicine’s role in federal health programs, including Medicare and Medicaid. The Telehealth Promotion Act of 2012 (HR 6719), introduced in the House of Representatives Dec. 30, would level the playing field for telehealth services and devices by increasing federal reimbursement and removing coverage restrictions for health services delivered via telecommunications.
The bill also would standardize the rules about medical licenses across the country, eliminating a complicated obstacle for physicians who want to provide telehealth services across state lines.
Adjusting the incentives for hospitals, the bill would ease restrictions for telemedicine use in accountable care organizations. Medical homes and home health services also would see expanded options and fewer restrictions.