(HARRISBURG) – As Pennsylvania continues to cope with the impacts of COVID-19, the 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 Senator Joe Scarnati (R-25).
Senate Bill 857, 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.
“Studies have shown that telemedicine saves time, money, and lives,” Senator Scarnati said. “With the rapidly rising cost of healthcare, and the fact that it is nonexistent in some places, the need for telemedicine continues to grow. This bill will help to ensure that rural Pennsylvanians in communities like ours, receive quality care that can save the lives of children, adults and seniors who cannot otherwise access the care of a medical professional.”
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.
COVID-19 changed the landscape for medicine in Pennsylvania. Many routine in-office services are not available for patients. Telemedicine can vastly improve the availability of healthcare options for people across Pennsylvania. The bill is supported by the Hospital and Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania, the Pennsylvania Medical Society and AARP.
“Senate Bill 857 has been sent to the Governor for his signature in order to become law,” Scarnati explained. “I strongly encourage him to sign this important legislation, to help our rural communities receive the healthcare they need and deserve.”
MEDIA CONTACT: Kate Flessner