Human Services Committee

JOINT FAVORABLE REPORT

Bill No.:

HB-5483

Title:

AN ACT CONCERNING COVERAGE OF TELEMEDICINE SERVICES UNDER MEDICAID.

Vote Date:

3/22/2012

Vote Action:

Joint Favorable Substitute

PH Date:

3/13/2012

File No.:

SPONSORS OF BILL:

Human Services Committee

REASONS FOR BILL:

The purpose of this bill is to provide coverage for telemedicine health services under the state Medicaid plan.

The substitute language for HB 5483:

The substitute language changes the program to a pilot program at federally qualified community health centers and adds a new section which becomes effective January 1, 2013.

In Section 1, The new substitute language for HB 5483 establishes the meaning of “telemedicine” as the use of interactive audio, interactive video or interactive data communication in the delivery or medical advice, diagnosis, care or treatment, and includes the types of services described in subsection (d) of section 20-9 of the general statutes and 42 CFR 410.78(a) (3). “Telemedicine” does not include the use of facsimile or audio-only telephone.

RESPONSE FROM ADMINISTRATION/AGENCY:

RODERICK L. BREMBY, Commissioner, Department of Social Services, gave testimony in favor of the bill. Commissioner Bremby testified, “Telemedicine is a model used in remote and rural areas of the nation to serve populations who find it difficult to access health care. There are few such areas in Connecticut, therefore the need for and the ultimate cost of such services is unclear. It is also unclear what is intended by “interactive data communication” and its impact on the Medicaid population.”

“The Department recognizes the potential of telemedicine and would be happy to work with the authors of the bill to study the need for these service modalities, their cost-effectiveness, and the best ways to safely implement them. I thank you for the opportunity to testify before you today and welcome any questions you may have.”

NATURE AND SOURCES OF SUPPORT:

MAG MORELLI, President of LeadingAge Connecticut: Ms. Morelli testified in support of this bill. She believes that, “Technology will transform the aging experience and that telemedicine will play a crucial role in the future of aging services. She adds, “Precautions must be put in place to ensure a standard of care that is required by state statute and regulation by licensed Connecticut providers.”

MARGARET FLINTER, APRN, Phd; Sr, VP and Clinical Director of Community Health Center, Inc.: Ms. Flinter testified in strong support of this bill. She testified that, “This forward-looking legislation which recognizes that the future of health care requires new approaches to ensure access to critical health service, reduces waste, waits and delays, improves health outcomes, increases both the patient experience and provider satisfaction and leads to lower overall costs.”

NATURE AND SOURCES OF OPPOSITION:

None expressed.

Reported by: Dionne Abrams

Date: April 9, 2012