Virginia Legislature Passes Bill Requiring Reimbursement for Telemedicine

March 3, 2010

WASHINGTON, DC - By a unanimous vote, the Virginia State Legislature
yesterday approved SB 675 mandating that health insurers pay for telemedicine services.  Governor McDonnell is expected to sign the bill into law.

"This is one more indication that telemedicine is now fully accepted by providers, policy makers, consumers and insurers as an important way to increase access, improve quality and reduce costs in the delivery of healthcare" said Jonathan D. Linkous, CEO of the American Telemedicine Association (ATA).

Virginia is the latest in a string of states passing similar legislation. Eleven other states have adopted mandates for the coverage of telemedicine.  The other states are: California, Colorado, Georgia, Hawaii, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, Oregon and Texas.  Karen Rheuban, MD, President of ATA and Medical Director, Office of Telemedicine and Senior Associate Dean for CME and External Affairs at the University of Virginia expressed her thanks to the "leaders of the state legislature who have taken the bold step to improve the lives of the residents of Virginia."

The Virginia bill requires health insurers, health care subscription plans, and health maintenance organizations to fully cover the cost of healthcare services provided through telemedicine services. The bill defines "telemedicine services" as the use of interactive audio, video, or other electronic media for the purpose of diagnosis, consultation or treatment. Utilization review may be undertaken to determine the
appropriateness of telemedicine services.

The American Telemedicine Association is the leading resource and advocate promoting access to health care for consumers and health professionals via telecommunications technology. ATA brings together diverse groups from traditional medicine, academic medical centers, technology and telecommunications companies, medical societies, government and others to overcome barriers to the advancement of telemedicine.  Established in 1993, ATA is headquartered in Washington, DC.

ATA's Annual Meeting, May 16-18 2010 in San Antonio, Texas, is the world's largest meeting and tradeshow focused exclusively on telemedicine and remote healthcare services.  For more information visit www.americantelemed.org.

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