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Perspectives on health policy affecting America’s hospitals and the patients we serve.

Experts Stress Importance of Telehealth to Congressional Staff

September 13, 2017 | FAH Policy Blog Team

Category: Health Care Delivery, Rural

The importance of telehealth to rural communities and the challenges it faces were the topic of a special briefing on Capitol Hill today.

A wide range of stakeholders, including a representative from LifePoint Health, briefed congressional staffers on the unique obstacles in health care coverage and access for non-urban areas - including provider shortages, limited insurance, and increased distance to quality care.

One thing that can literally help bridge the gap is telehealth.

“Telehealth offers rural communities, in particular, the extraordinary ability to access specialized, highly trained physicians in remote and sparsely populated locations while maintaining the highest standards of quality and saving costs,” said Melissa Waddey, President of Ambulatory and Operations Services of LifePoint health.

She added that one of the biggest roadblocks is making sure providers get paid fairly for their services, whether they are delivered in person on remotely.

“Reimbursement for telehealth services is variable by state and by payor,” Waddey added. The lack of parity compounds complexity of providing services across the country in rural markets and is a barrier for rural hospitals.”

Waddey was joined on the panel by representatives from the National Rural Health Association and TeleQuality Communications.

They also briefed staffers on how legislation like the HEART Act (H.R. 2291) can affect access among the occupying populations.

Just click here to watch today’s briefing.