House Bills supporting telehealth and telecare are coming thick and fast with a third bill in just over a month being introduced on Tuesday, 17 December. The Telehealth Modernization Act of 2013 (H.R. 3750) introduced by two Representatives from California and Ohio follows the 21st Century Care for Military & Veterans Act (H.R. 3507) (see our item Bill to expand military telehealth services introduced (US) on November 19) and the Health Savings Through Technology Act (H.R. 3577) (see our article Another House bill supporting telehealth and telemedicine (US) on November 22).
According to the press release Representatives Doris Matsui (D-CA) and Bill Johnson (R-OH), members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee which has jurisdiction over health care and technology issues, introduced the bipartisan legislation to create a federal definition of telehealth and provide principles that states can look to for guidance when developing new policies that govern telehealth.
The landmark Californian telehealth legislation that the bill is based on is the Telehealth Advancement Act of 2011, AB 415, which became law on January 1, 2012. The Californian law updates legal definitions of telehealth, streamlines medical approval processes for the delivery of services via telehealth, and broadens the types of services that can be provided via telehealth (see Center for Connected Health Policy for a good summary). Rep. Matsui and Rep. Johnson claim that their bill is “designed to incentivize more states to expeditiously adopt more favorable telehealth policies”.