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More Men Accessing Behavioral Health Care through Telemedicine; Time to Pass Senate Bill 780

June 07, 2018

New information from the nation’s largest telemedicine provider, Teledoc, shows the increasing value of telehealth in providing convenient access to care. The company reports that, so far this year, about half of its behavioral health visits have been with men between the ages of 20 and 35. This new information provides one more reason to expand access to telemedicine services in Pennsylvania.

Since men traditionally avoid seeking treatment for behavioral health issues because of social stigmas, this data highlights the critical importance of  telemedicine as a way to eliminate barriers to accessing health care.

Telehealth—or telemedicine—is the exchange of medical information from one site to another via electronic communications in order to improve a patient’s clinical health status. Two-way video, email, smartphones, wireless tools, and other forms of telecommunications technology can be used to deliver high-quality health care through telehealth.

Telemedicine promises to provide better access to quality, convenient health care, while keeping costs down. Telemedicine also:

  • Eliminates long waits for in-person appointments
  • Accommodates those who would normally travel far to see a specialist
  • Saves lives when seconds matter

HAP is urging the state Senate to schedule a vote on legislation that expands access to telemedicine services in Pennsylvania. HAP and the hospital community strongly support Senate Bill 780 (Vogel, R-Beaver), telemedicine legislation that would ensure all Pennsylvanians better access to quality care through telemedicine programs. Please contact your state Senator and ask him or her to vote “yes” on this bill, which:

  • Defines telemedicine
  • Protects patients by outlining who can provide health care services through telemedicine
  • Requires health insurers to provide reimbursement for telemedicine services if they pay for the same service in person

By expanding insurance reimbursement to providers for telemedicine, Senate Bill 780 will help ensure that Pennsylvania physicians and hospitals are able to provide the right care, at the right place, at the right time for patients.

During January, the Pennsylvania Senate Banking and Insurance Committee unanimously approved the bill. The bill is awaiting a full vote by Pennsylvania’s Senate.

For more information about telemedicine, contact Tim Ohrum, HAP’s vice president, grassroots advocacy. Questions about Senate Bill 780 may be directed to Stephanie Watkins, HAP’s vice president, state legislative advocacy, or Scott Bishop, HAP’s senior vice president, legislative advocacy.

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