Florida Legislation Tackles Telehealth Reimbursement

8-21-2013 10-42-52 PM

Fla. Senator Arthenia Joyner, a Democrat from greater Tampa, introduces a bill that would mandate expanded access to telehealth services for patients . The bill requires that private insurers begin paying for telehealth services by 2015.  The Florida Medical Association supports the bill, as they have with similar bills in the past. However, previous efforts have all failed to gain enough traction to be passed.

Currently, access to telehealth services in Florida vary based on insurance type, provider, and location. The new bill aims to universally expand access  for Florida residents by developing a broader and more comprehensive reimbursement policy and by mandating that the state draft a plan for implementing these services by 2015.

While Senator Joyner works to expand telehealth availability in Florida, five counties within the state are set to see reductions to their current Medicare reimbursements for telehealth services because a recent audit determined that they fall within federally designated metropolitan areas that are not eligible for Medicare telehealth reimbursement. Florida’s Medicaid program only reimburses for Medicaid-eligible children living in underserved regions of the state.

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