Rep. Whiteford plan improving access to telehealth signed into law

Categories: News,Whiteford News

Bipartisan plan makes preventative and routine health care more accessible for Michigan patients and families

A bill introduced by state Rep. Mary Whiteford to improve access to health care for Michigan Medicaid patients via telehealth has been signed into law.

Currently, telemedicine visits between patients and health care providers must be done in real time in the state of Michigan, and in very limited locations. The bipartisan package of bills change the law to allow patients to visit their health care provider virtually from their home, school or wherever their provider approves. In areas where internet access is limited, people can record their visit and forward it to their health care provider.

“This is an innovative solution to health care access and an invaluable resource to rural communities like ours,” said Whiteford, of Casco Township. “This change will make telehealth possible in more scenarios as doctors will now have the time to thoroughly analyze data and test results and respond to patients at a later time.”

Barriers to health care include limited access to transportation and lack of available providers in a geographic area, which have both affected patients in Michigan’s rural communities. Whiteford said increased use of telemedicine in Michigan is part of the solution.

Other parts of the new law:

• Allow Medicaid to pay for telemedicine visits when a patient is at home or in school. Previously, a patient was required to go to a specific health facility to have a telehealth visit covered by Medicaid.
• Allow remote patient monitoring to be covered by Medicaid. This will allow doctors to analyze data gathered by patients using a monitoring device – such as blood sugar, blood pressure or their heart rate – when assessing the health of their patient during a telehealth visit.

House Bills 5412-5416 are now Public Acts 97-101 of 2020.

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