Senate Bill 857 Sent to Governor
HARRISBURG – As Pennsylvania continues to cope with the impact of COVID-19, the state Senate today 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 Sen. Gene Yaw (R-23).
Senate Bill 857, which now goes to the Governor for consideration, 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.
“Delivering health care services via advanced technologies, such as Skype and FaceTime, would be a huge benefit in rural areas, especially as we deal collectively to address the spread of COVID-19,” Sen. Yaw said. “It enables physicians to treat patients and increase the opportunities for access to care when there aren’t enough providers available.”
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.
“Telemedicine can vastly improve the availability of healthcare options for people in rural and urban areas,” Yaw added.
The bill is supported by the Hospital and Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania, the Pennsylvania Medical Society and AARP.
For more state-related news and information, visit Senator Yaw’s website at www.SenatorGeneYaw.com or on Facebook and Twitter @SenatorGeneYaw.
Rita Zielonis, Chief of Staff