Federal Lawmakers Offer Three Telemedicine Bills Before August Recess
Before leaving for August recess, federal lawmakers introduced three separate telehealth bills, two of which aim at expanding health care access in rural areas, Technology Daily reports. Leading the effort in the Senate, Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) proposed S 1273, which would provide grants to increase rural patients' access to quality care. The bill would authorize five grants for "telehomecare" demonstration projects, which would train providers to use telecommunications and other technologies to manage home care for patients in distant rural areas. S 1283, sponsored by Sen. Timothy Johnson (D-S.D.), would establish programs to foster the use of technology in the delivery of mental health services to targeted rural areas. In the House, Rep. Doug Ose (R-Calif.) introduced HR 2706, which would authorize $280 million in grants over seven years to provide Medicare telehealth services to areas where they are not currently available. A provision of the bill would also remove the program's existing emphasis on rural areas. Ose's bill also advocates multi-state licensure for telehealth services in order to increase their availability to residents and physicians living near state borders (Glover, Technology Daily, 8/3).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.