Telehealth—or telemedicine—is the exchange of medical information from one site to another via electronic communications in order to improve a patient’s clinical health status. Two-way video, email, smartphones, wireless tools, and other forms of telecommunications technology can be used to deliver high-quality health care through telemedicine.

Impact of Telehealth in Pennsylvania

Telehealth can be used to connect a specialist to a patient at a distance. It can be used to deliver life-saving care, as well as deliver routine care in a timely, cost-effective manner. Services delivered through telehealth can save time and money, as well as enhance health outcomes and support population health.

Telehealth can support the right care, at the right time, and in the right setting for Pennsylvanians.

Telehealth quickly grew in popularity during the COVID-19 pandemic, thanks to emergency regulatory flexibility at both the state and federal levels that expanded access. HAP has advocated to continue Pennsylvanians' access to important telehealth services by permanently extending regulatory waivers that supported telehealth during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Pennsylvania Telehealth Legislation

On June 26, 2024, Pennsylvania's General Assembly passed HAP-supported Senate Bill 739, introduced by Senator Elder Vogel. Specifically, the legislation:

  • Assures that insurers cannot deny payment for care simply because it is delivered via telemedicine
  • Ensures greater access to primary and specialty care, particularly for those who are isolated, older, or without transportation
  • Helps patients manage chronic conditions and avoid hospital admissions or readmissions
  • Supports schools to address physical and behavioral health issues
  • Aids caregivers of elderly or seriously ill patients
  • Aligns with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ position that more must be done to expand payment for telemedicine services

HAP CEO Nicole Stallings' statement about the General Assembly of Senate Bill 739

See HAP's News Release for more information. The legislation now will head to the Governor for signature.

Federal Activity

HAP has supported efforts to expand the use of telehealth for Medicare beneficiaries by addressing both coverage and payment limitations resulting from restrictive statutes and regulations. HAP has applauded Congress and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services for identifying particular opportunities to expand Medicare beneficiaries' access to telehealth services, but will continue to engage federal policymakers to make telehealth services more broadly available.

HAP Contacts

For more information, contact Heather Tyler, vice president, state legislative advocacy; or Kate Slatt, vice president, policy & care delivery. Media inquiries should be directed to Chris Daley, vice president, strategic communications.

HAP News

July 12, 2024

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