Bipartisan plan makes preventative and routine health care more accessible for Michigan patients in COVID-19 era
A plan introduced by state Rep. Doug Wozniak to improve access to health care for Michigan patients via telehealth was approved today by the House Ways & Means Committee.
Under current law, telemedicine visits between patients and health care providers must be done in real time. Wozniak’s legislation, part of a bipartisan package of bills, would change the law to allow patient data in the form of video and images to be stored and forwarded to providers.
“Now more than ever, we must make health care more accessible to Michigan residents, regardless of barriers,” said Wozniak, of Shelby Township. “This change ensures providers have time to thoroughly analyze data and test results and respond to patients at a later time.” Barriers prior to the COVID-19 era included limited access to transportation and lack of available providers in a geographic area, which have both affected patients in Michigan’s rural communities. But now, in the height of the COVID-19 era, many patients are unable to access routine and preventative health care, and others are too high-risk to leave their homes. Wozniak said increased use of telemedicine in Michigan is the answer.
Other bills in the package would:
• Allow Medicaid to pay for telemedicine visits when a patient is at home or in school. Currently, a patient is required to go to a specific health facility to have a telehealth visit covered by Medicaid.
• Allow remote patient monitoring, which allows a doctor to get patient-generated health data via a device while conducting a telehealth visit and assists a doctor in assessing the patient’s health, to be covered by Medicaid.
House Bills 5412-5416 received unanimous support from the committee and now move to be further considered on the House floor.