Suppose your doctor’s appointment is in your home town but the doctor examining you by video teleconferencing from 150 miles away. A plan for the state to move more healthcare in that direction is one of the uncertain issues before the legislature. It’s called Telehealth.
Telehealth is part of a major healthcare bill, the Missouri Health Transformation Act, approved by the Senate and facing a cloudy future in the House. Part of the bill is a version of Governor Blunt’s "Insure Missouri" program for lower-income Missourians—an issue some house leaders have written off for the session.
Senator Tom Dempsey of St. Peters wants the state health department to establish guidelines for use of telehealth and for the doctors who will use it. Dempsey says the system is especially useful in rural areas where specialists might be a long distance from the patient.
Some insurance companies don’t cover diagnosis or treatment through telehealth. Dempsey’s bill says they will–but not unless the House does something with it. Right now the bill has not been given a committee hearing in the House….and the session ends in 11 days.
Telehealth is one provision of SB1283–Missouri Health Transformation Act.