On July 28, Senators Roger Wicker, (R-MS) and Thad Cochran (R-MS) introduced the “Telehealth Enhancement Act of 2014” (S. 2662) to provide Medicare beneficiaries with greater access to telehealth technologies to help lower healthcare costs.
The Senate measure is a companion bill to bipartisan legislation (HR. 3306) authored by Representative Gregg Harper (R-MS) last year. Senators Wicker and Cochran intend to seek bipartisan support for their bill.
S.2622 would adjust Medicare home health payments, so that patients would be given access to nearby services through remote monitoring technologies. The measure would extend telehealth coverage to all critical access and sole-community hospitals regardless of metropolitan status. In some circumstances, the legislation would cover more home-based video services for hospice care, home dialysis, and homebound seniors.
The bill would also give states the opportunity to modify Medicaid coverage to include telehealth services for women with high-risk pregnancies by creating birthing networks to allow medical providers to treat conditions such as gestational diabetes and hypertension.
S.2662 has been referred to the Senate Finance Committee. HR.3306 is pending in the House Ways and Means Committee and in the House Energy and Commerce Committee.
On July 28, H.R.5214 was introduced by Representative Pete Olson from Texas in the House requiring the Secretary of HHS to recommend and develop the use of clinical data registries.
The legislation calls for:
- A set of standards to allow for bidirectional and interoperable exchange of information between EHRs of the reporting clinicians and registries
- Recommendations on how the registries may be developed and used to evaluate various care models and methods including improved clinical care coordination and the impact on the management of diseases
- Recommendations on how data from the registries may be used to help develop clinical practices to use to prevent diseases and ways to disseminate data using clinical practice support tools
- Developing the registries to help prevent diseases and how to use the registries to promote preventive health benefits.
The bill has been referred to the House Energy and Commerce Committee. For more information, go to http://thomas.loc.gov.