WASHINGTON — The American Telemedicine Association, the leading nonprofit membership organization for remote medical services, is working with three minority legislative caucuses to educate lawmakers and introduce model legislation for telehealth in statehouses around the country. ATA has formed partnerships with the National Organization of Black Elected Legislative Women (NOBEL), the National Black Caucus of State Legislators (NBCSL) and the National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators (NHCSL) with the goal of maximizing state-government support of telemedicine. All three organizations have recently passed resolutions calling for the removal of artificial policy barriers and greater adoption of telehealth services.
“This collaboration builds on the great work already being done to advance telemedicine in forward-thinking state legislatures,” said Jonathan Linkous, CEO of the American Telemedicine Association. “States are often the true innovators in developing policies, regulations and payment mechanisms in support of telemedicine. We’re using the outcomes, evidence and lessons learned from these cases to show all state governments how telemedicine can improve the quality of health care, increase access and reduce costs."
NOBEL, NBCSL and NHCSL are natural allies for ATA, both for their focus on state policy and as representatives for minority populations. Telemedicine is proven to have a significant positive impact on historically underserved groups. “Remote healthcare services can alleviate chronic healthcare shortages that exist in both urban centers and rural areas,” Linkous said.
ATA and its members have been instrumental in steering state policies to better deploy telemedicine. To date, 16 states' legislatures have mandated payer reimbursement of telemedicine services. Almost every state now includes some telehealth in their Medicaid programs and many states are expanding their services to cut Medicare service costs. ATA has also worked to eliminate burdensome regulatory issues that exist, or have been proposed, in many states.
In October 2012, ATA received a grant from the Human Resources and Services Administration, a part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, to research state telehealth policies and promote state-level best practices.
The American Telemedicine Association is the leading international resource and advocate promoting the use of advanced remote medical technologies. ATA and its diverse membership work to fully integrate telemedicine into healthcare systems to improve quality, equity and affordability of health care throughout the world. Established in 1993, ATA is headquartered in Washington, D.C. For more information, visit the organization's website.