STATEHOUSE - Senate Bill (SB) 554, sponsored by Rep. Ron Bacon (R-Chandler) passed out of the House this week with a vote of 94-0. SB 554 addresses telehealth, which refers to patient monitoring in the home by a health care provider from a distance, and telemedicine services under Medicaid. It will now be back to the Senate with amendments.
“I am very pleased with the overwhelming support for this bill in both chambers,” said Rep. Bacon. “I have been working very closely with the Senate and believe it will benefit Hoosiers all over the state.”
The bill will require the office of Medicaid Policy and Planning to reimburse home health agencies, rural health clinics and federally qualified health centers for doing medical consultations, diagnoses and monitoring using videoconferencing, telephones or computers.
The shortage of physicians and psychiatrists, intensified by the Affordable Care Act, is a limiting factor on patients’ access to care, especially in rural areas. Telehealth and telemedicine services allow physicians and psychiatrists to care for their patients without having those patients travel to receive them. Physicians save precious time and money by not needing to visit patients in their homes.
“St. Francis Health has done this for a while and has noticed significant savings. Specifically for congestive heart failure, there is normally a one in four readmittance rate, but with telehealth, there is a one in 20 readmittance rate. Reducing the readmission rate means that patients are having healthier outcomes, and the process is less costly,” said Rep. Bacon.
The bill originally passed in the Senate on in February with a vote of 50-0. For more information regarding SB 554, please visit www.in.gov/legislative.