Senate Passes Telemedicine Bill

Harrisburg, April 20, 2020 – The Pennsylvania Senate gave final approval to a bill that promotes telemedicine as a way to overcome barriers to quality patient care created by distance and reduce the costs of those services, according to Senator John Yudichak (I-Luzerne/Carbon).

“Senate Bill 857 will help lower health care costs and improve patient care through the effective use of telemedicine,” said Senator John Yudichak (I-Luzerne/Carbon). “During this global pandemic, many of us have utilized telemedicine as a way to keep appointments with medical professionals without having to leave home. We have seen how important telemedicine is for all Pennsylvania residents, especially for those in our rural areas, and I urge Governor Wolf to let this bill become law.”

Senate Bill 857 specifically defines telemedicine as “the delivery of health care services provided through telecommunications technology to a patient by a healthcare practitioner who is at a different location.” It also establishes guidelines regarding who can provide telemedicine services, and provides clarity regarding insurance company reimbursement for those services.

While Senate Bill 857 makes substantial changes in the health care industry, physicians and other health practitioners delivering telemedicine services would still be required to follow standard state licensure and medical practice laws and requirements in Pennsylvania.

COVID-19 changed the landscape for medicine in Pennsylvania. Many routine in office services are not available for patients. Telemedicine can vastly improve the availability of healthcare options for people in rural or urban areas.

The bill is supported by the Hospital and Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania, the Pennsylvania Medical Society and AARP.


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