Public Health Committee

JOINT FAVORABLE REPORT

Bill No.:

SB-298

Title:

AN ACT CONCERNING TELEHEALTH SERVICES FOR MEDICAID RECIPIENTS.

Vote Date:

3/7/2016

Vote Action:

Joint Favorable Change of Reference to Human Services

PH Date:

3/2/2016

File No.:

SPONSORS OF BILL:

Public Health Committee

REASONS FOR BILL: this bill requires the department of social services to provide Medicaid coverage for telehealth services. It requires the commissioner to seek a federal waiver or amend the state Medicaid plan to obtain federal reimbursement for the cost of covering these services. It also requires the commissioner to report by January 1, 2018 to the human services and public health committees on the provision of telehealth services to Medicaid recipients.

RESPONSE FROM ADMINISTRATION/AGENCY:

Julia Evans Starr, Executive Director for Connecticut's Legislative Commission on Aging: This bill builds upon the excellent foundation this committee established with the passage of Telehealth Standards (PA 15-88) last session. Using telehealth to address mobility limitations, major distance or time barriers, and transportation limitations will become increasingly important as Connecticut prepares for longer-lived, growing numbers of older adults.

Sen. Martin Looney: The passage of SB 298 would make quality, affordable healthcare more accessible to the Medicaid population. These are the people who often have difficulty accessing the healthcare system and therefore would benefit the most.

NATURE AND SOURCES OF SUPPORT:

Rev. Josh Pawelek, Minister Of The Unitarian Universalist Society: Telehealth is another method that helps close the gap between access and no access to health care. Indeed, in expanding telehealth services to Medicaid recipients, SB 298 takes one more step in Connecticut's march toward health care for all. Empirical research has shown that healthcare provided through telehealth has saved money in travel time, wages lost and family expenses.

American Speech-Language-Hearing Association: The benefits of telehealth include providing services in remote underserved areas and providing access to services for clients unable to leave their homes. Telehealth allows practitioners to provide services to individuals where there is a provider shortage and in some instances provide access to healthcare specialists

The following individuals support SB 298 on the grounds that increasing access to needed medical care is important. Providers that find innovative, cost-effective, and efficient methods of providing care should be reimbursed appropriately. This bill would support increased access to care as it would provide reimbursement for services that are provided through real-time, interactive, two-way communication technology

Kathleen Flaherty, Esq. Executive Director, CT Legal Rights Project

Nora Duncan, American Association Of Retired Persons

The American Osteopathic Association (AOA) And The Connecticut Osteopathic Medical Society (COMS)

NATURE AND SOURCES OF OPPOSITION: NONE

Reported by: Walter L. Morton IV

Date: 03/09/16