This past Tuesday, August 27th, State Representatives Mia Jones (D-Jacksonville) and Cary Pigman (R-Avon Park) held a symposium at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville focused on telemedicine. The purpose was to discuss the opportunities and difficulties of implementing legislation that would mandate private insurance companies to cover and reimburse for telemedicine services.
On hand were several experts in telemedicine, healthcare representatives, and members of the insurance and technology sectors. In addition, HCAF sent our own Patti Heid, Director of Membership Growth and Development, to listen to the discussion and promote the importance of telemedicine in the home health setting.
Experts agreed that increased use of telemedicine would lead both to better patient outcomes and reduced costs for public and private reimbursement entities. Furthermore, telemedicine could also address:
- MD shortage
- Timely physician to physician communication
- ER wait times
- Access to various specialties which may be scarce in Florida (esp. rural areas of the state)
Representatives Jones and Pigman stated their intent to co-sponsor a bill that would require private insurance to cover telemedicine, which would see Florida join 21 other states that have passed similar legislation. Their bill would have parity with Senate Bill 70 sponsored by State Senator Arthenia Joyner (D-Tampa), which was reported on here in this blog.