Today, Rep. Anne Gonzales (R-Westerville) and Rep. Lynn Wachtmann (R-Napoleon) applauded the passage of House Bill 123 through the Ohio House of Representatives. The initiative requires Medicaid to provide coverage of telehealth services offered by medical facilities.
Telehealth is a new approach to medical care that allows for health care services to be delivered to a patient through the use of audio, video and other telecommunications, or electronic technology. Telehealth can be used for the diagnosis and treatment of a patient at a distant site; improving patient access to clinical experts, mitigating health disparities across the state, while reducing health care costs.
By requiring coverage for telehealth practices, Ohio is joining forty-five other states in modernizing its practices, raising the standard of medical care and lowering costs for patients.
“As a legislative body we are committed to capitalizing on advances in technology to increase access to medical care and reducing costs,” said Rep. Gonzales, who is a joint sponsor of the bill. “Telehealth services deliver on both counts.”
The legislation requires the coverage by Medicaid for telehealth services but leaves what services and when up to the discretion of the Medicaid Director. In addition, the bill extends the peer review within a hospital to be able to follow the telehealth services between two hospitals.
“This legislation is a great step forward for Ohio. We have a responsibility to do everything we can to enable excellent medical assistance for our citizens,” said Rep. Wachtmann, who is also joint sponsoring the bill. “Telehealth allows the people of Ohio to receive medical care no matter where they are in the state.”
The bill passed with bipartisan support and will now move to the Senate for consideration.