The allure of telemedicine captivates any effort to wring cost savings from the delivery of health care. Offering rural and under-served areas access to physician and other health care professionals via a telephone and video links intuitively seems to offer a likely candidate for cost savings. However, the results of telemedicine trials have been inconclusive.
The full adoption of telemedicine lies with the acceptance of the concept by the largest purchaser of health care services, the federal government. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has taken a cautious approach due to conflicting recent studies that offer mixed reviews on the effectiveness of telemedicine.
CQ HealthBeat’s (@CQHealthTweet) Kerry Young reports that Mississippi Republican Rep. Greg Harper, who led a bipartisan effort in support of a telemedicine bill in the last Congress, is discussing the development of new legislation this year. In its current form, the new measure includes a provision that would require CMS’s chief actuary to certify that an expansion of telehealth if it would not result in any increase in net program spending.