Legislation would expand telemedicine to cities

Telemedicine could soon get a boost under federal legislation that would expand Medicare reimbursement for telemedicine to cities and suburbs and pay physicians for remote monitoring. Currently, about 80 percent of Americans don't have access to telemedicine, in part because Medicare funding for the technology is limited to rural areas and because few private payers reimburse for such services.

The proposed Medicare Telehealth Enhancement Act, sponsored by Reps. Mike Thompson (D-CA), Bart Stupak (D-MI) Lee Terry (R-NE) and Sam Johnson (R-TX), would rescind the restrictions and also set aside $30 million in grant funding to help providers obtain telehealth equipment and expand services.

For more details on this legislation:
- see this FierceHealthIT piece