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March 25, 2016 | Telehealth Bill Making Waves in the Sunshine State

After months of deliberation and advocating from multiple parties, it appears that Florida’s policies concerning telehealth are changing. ­More importantly, reimbursements­ for these services are finally moving in the right direction with a new bill.

Florida Legislature passed a bill advocating for commercial insurance to cover telehealth services provided in the state. While the bill doesn’t mandate full commercial coverage, it formed a committee to assess how Florida can improve patient access to telehealth.

Formally named “The Telehealth Advisory Council,” the new group will identify the current state of Florida’s telehealth services. It will also identify which insurers are paying providers for it. In essence, the council will provide a snapshot that officials can use to increase the adoption of this technology.

The new bill, and by extension, The Telehealth Advisory Council, will primarily accomplish the following:

Since the report is due December 1, 2018, it will be some time until we see the findings from the bill manifest into policies. However, the message to all parties is clear. Telehealth is a crucial medical service and Florida is committed to paying doctors who provide it.

It’s hard to imagine a legislative effort like this, let alone a Telehealth Council, being approved as recently as a few years ago. As such, Florida’s actions are truly indicative of healthcare’s growing acceptance of patient engagement technology.  With this in mind, Wellbox applauds the efforts of our in-state peers to help patients receive the medical care they deserve. Whether it is delivered in the office, at home, or anywhere in-between, this is great news for remote care.