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Rural Telemedicine Growing More Slowly than Expected

Telemedicine has been touted as a revolutionary solution to the shortage of physicians in rural areas, but a recent study published in JAMA suggests that although this trend may have begun, it has not yet snowballed as expected. Between 2005 and 2017, 83.3% of patients with commercial insurance who used telemedicine services lived in urban areas. This suggests that they were not driven to use telemedicine by a shortage of physicians, but rather by other factors such as convenience. Such a surprising result seems contrary to the belief that rural patients are seeking greater access to physicians; if this were the case, then one might expect more rural telemedicine than urban telemedicine. Read more

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Telemedicine Usage Exploding since 2005

According to a new study published in JAMA, telemedicine use has been skyrocketing since 2005. Researchers, curious about the adoption pattern of telemedicine, examined the trends in telemedicine use and its association with factors such as parity legislation and physician supply within a large commercial health plan. They found that from 2005 to 2017, telemedicine usage grew from 206 visits in 2005 to about 202,300 visits in 2017. Telemedicine usage expanded the most in primary care and telemental health (telepsychiatry); this rise, they surmise, may be largely due to increasing payer coverage for direct-to-consumer telemedicine. Read more

"equal pay" street signs

Telemedicine Payment Parity Fails in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania remains one of the few states that still lacks a dedicated Telemedicine Act. In an attempt to address both telemedicine payment parity and professional regulation in one Act, Pennsylvania Senate Bill 780—including its clause on coverage and reimbursement for its use—was unanimously approved last June by two Pennsylvania Senate committees, the full Senate, and the House Professional Licensure Committee. However, it failed to pass in the House of Representatives in October. Read more

woman suffering from pollen allergy

Telemedicine for Allergies Receives Key Endorsement

Telemedicine for allergies has been endorsed by the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) in recognition of the care delivery platform’s capacity to improve patients’ adherence, outcomes, access to care, and costs. The organization’s latest policy paper outlines 14 position statements on telemedicine adoption, policy, and platform development as they relate to allergy and immunology care. Read more

Report Card: Most Improved A+

ATA’s Annual Reports Reveal Growth in Telemedicine Adoption

Last week, the American Telemedicine Association (ATA) issued its yearly reports of telemedicine coverage, reimbursement, and standards across the country. In general, telemedicine has consistently become an accepted tool by patients, providers, and third-party payers in all states, with improved coverage and reimbursement in several states. Some state legislatures are removing restrictive requirements for physician practice standards, even allowing them to practice telemedicine across state lines. Read more

rubber stamp marked with regulation

Telemedicine Regulation Is Coming to New Jersey

Last week, a New Jersey Senate committee unanimously approved a bill that would regulate the telemedicine industry. The proposed legislation compels payment parity, safeguards the prescribing of addictive medications, and calls for the State Board of Medical Examiners to determine the specific criteria for telemedicine regulation. Read more

Rhode Island State House

Rhode Island to Require Payment Parity for Telemedicine

This summer, Rhode Island became the 31st state to require payment parity for telemedicine services. The new law, the Rhode Island Telemedicine Coverage Act, requires commercial health plans to reimburse for telemedicine-provided services at the same rates at which they pay for in-person visits. Read more

Gavel on open book

AMA Endorses Telemedicine Bill

Consumers aren’t the only ones who are clamoring for the more convenient healthcare—it seems that doctors are, too. On February 3, the American Medical Association (AMA) announced its support for the Creating Opportunities Now for Necessary and Effective Care Technologies (CONNECT) for Health Act, a telemedicine bill that aims to increase patients’ access to providers and reduce healthcare costs. Read more