Florida docs support telemedicine coverage

The Florida Medical Association is supporting proposed state legislation requiring private insurers to pay for telemedicine like regular doctor visits, joining 20 other states with similar laws, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported.

Sen. Arthenia Joyner (D-Tampa) sponsored the legislation, which also calls for a state study of how to establish and regulate a statewide telehealth system, the paper reported. A similar bill stalled last year.

"Telemedicine offers tremendous potential to not only increase patients' access to physician services, but also to make follow-up visits and consultations more convenient for patients," Timothy Stapleton, executive vice president for the Florida Medical Association, told the newspaper.

"The FMA understands that telemedicine is a trend that is here to stay, and we look forward to working with lawmakers to make Florida a national leader in the use of innovative healthcare technology," he said.

The American Telemedicine Association (ATA) tracks the status of telehealth-related legislation across the country, including which bills die in committee.

In addition to the 20 states that require private insurance coverage of telemedicine services, legislators in 10 other states had  bipartisan support as of earlier this month, Medscape Today reported.

For more information:
- here's the Sun-Sentinel article
- check out the ATA legislative tracker
- read the Medscape article

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