Adopt the 2014 bill SBP 7028, the “Florida Telemedicine Act”

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For the past two years, there has been a heated debate on legislature surrounding the adoption of telehealth technology in the state of Florida. Telemedicine has been shown to be a cost-saving benefit by leveraging technology to provide more effective and efficient systems of care. blog pic 1Florida currently has a higher ratio of patients to primary care providers when compared to the national average and is projected to have an increasing shortage of physicians over the next 10 to 15 years. http://www.graham-center.org/online/etc/medialib/graham/documents/tools-resources/floridapdf.Par.0001.File.dat/Florida_final.pdf. The reasons cited for these projections include a growth in the population, increased use of medical services due to an aging population and an increased number in the insured due to the mandated 2010 Affordable Care Act (ACA). Another major benefit to facilitating telemedicine in the state is rural health care coverage. The Florida Department of Health reports ten of Florida’s 30 rural counties currently lack a rural hospital which continue to be the primary and focal point of care for these areas.

SBP 7028 would seek to “create licensure and registration requirements; provide health insurer and health plan reimbursement requirements for telemedicine; and provide requirements for reimbursement of telemedicine services under the Medicaid program, etc.” Telemedicine in Florida is supported by independent groups such as Florida TaxWatch and Florida Partnership for Teleheath. This bill has been met with most resistance from the Florida Medical Association specifically due to concerns of accountability, physician licensure, certification process to provide telemedicine services and potential abuse or misuse of such technology by out of state providers.

Twenty-two states are facing proposed legislature related to adopting telehealth technologies while others are expanding these to meet a growing need. One year and several amendments later, it is time to vote on this bill for telemedicine across the state of Florida.

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3 Responses to “Adopt the 2014 bill SBP 7028, the “Florida Telemedicine Act””

  1. mariaymayo Says:

    What a great post! Telemedicine as part of US national mHealth strategy is really needed and urgent. I see this as way to leverage access to health services. The costs will and should be reduced compared to those charged in a normal clinical providing ground. In addition, the access to professionals with language capacities will be a plus in the context of Florida with a high percentage of spanish speaking communities.

  2. lhobbs5 Says:

    Thank you for posting about the potential telemedicine has in Florida to address a growing number of concerns regarding access to care. I live in Alaska and last year the legislature passed House Bill 281 which seeks to expand access to telemedicine for patients in both rural and urban areas of the state. The bill, and now subsequent law, allows licensed primary care physicians within Alaska to conduct consultations over the phone, make diagnoses, and provide prescriptions. Alaska is 663,268 square miles, 80% of its communities are not accessible by road and 20% of the population lives in rural communities. The capabilities of telemedicine in that context are incredibly significant. With that said though, enabling legislation is just the first step. If SBP 7028 is adopted, Florida will need to troubleshoot many other obstacles to providing remote care such potentially developing/enhancing parity laws (that require equal insurance coverage for in-person and remote/telemedicine care). New York just enacted parity legislation in January and could provide a good model for Florida.

  3. ynangwenyi Says:

    Telemedicine is an excellent tool to increase access to primary care. I’ve also heard of its use for mental health. This means that Florida policymakers and residents can find evidence and learn lessons from Alaska and New York as mentioned above. While rural populations are the main focus, this could also be useful in urban settings especially for those with restricted mobility. Hopefully, there will be systematic data collection to provide proof of its impact on various populations.

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