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News Release: HAP Statement: PA Hospitals Thank the Senate and Urge Governor Wolf to Allow Telemedicine Legislation to Become Law

On April 21, the state Senate approved Senate Bill 857. The measure, sponsored by Senator Elder Vogel (R–Beaver), would memorialize important definitions, expand insurance coverage, and provide consumer protections for telemedicine. The Hospital and Healthsystem Association (HAP) released the following statement urging Governor Tom Wolf to allow the bill to become law:

“Never before has access to telemedicine been so important than during the COVID-19 pandemic. Telemedicine provides people across the commonwealth with access to needed medical services without them having to leave their houses. During this crisis, telemedicine is helping patients access everything from routine medical care to specialty services, and even initial screening for a COVID-19 test. 

“As we look to easing social distancing and mitigation efforts, Pennsylvanians will continue to rely on telemedicine even more for their care. We must look to the future and make sure that this is covered by insurers in the same way as an in-person visit, and that we enact necessary consumer protections, so that only licensed professionals are providing these services.

“Although no legislation is perfect, HAP supports Senate Bill 857 because of the progress it represents in establishing telemedicine’s rightful place at the forefront of the newly emerging health system of the future. Overall, it is a step in the right direction. We hope the Governor can let it go into effect, and then we can begin deliberations about the future legislation and regulation we will need to advance telemedicine, so that it makes health care accessible to every Pennsylvanian.

“We thank Senator Vogel for being a longtime telemedicine champion and sponsoring Senate Bill 857, and urge Governor Wolf to allow this bill to become law.”

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