Federal Legislation Introduced to Allow Telemedicine

August 4, 2012
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First posted on The Fickenscher Files on 8/2/2012

 

 

First posted on The Fickenscher Files on 8/2/2012

In late June, Representative Charlie Rangel introduced the ‘‘Veterans E-Health & Telemedicine Support Act of 2012’’ or the ‘‘VETS Act of 2012’’ which amends the U.S. Code so that health care professionals will be able to treat veterans using telemedicine technology.  Furthermore, the legislation stipulates that the health care professionals can provide telemedicine services to veterans regardless of whether professional or patient is located in a facility owned or operated by the Federal Government.  This has far-reaching implications since I’ve been predicting for some time that the use of telemedicine services will be one of the keys for solving our workforce shortages in the nation.  To practice under the provision, a provider must have a “contract” with the government.  It is the first step, however, in moving toward the effective use of telemedicine, and we should anticipate that either the advent of reimbursement models or the move toward accountable care delivery systems will further drive the use of this technology.   In fact, the Federation of State Medical Boards is taking this very seriously and recently participated in a Telemedicine and License Portability Workshop to foster discussions on how the utilization of the Uniform Application for state licensure can be used to facilitate licensure and options for addressing the multi-state practice of telemedicine.