Telemedicine Bill Poised To Expand Services

Apr 6, 2017

A bill expanding coverage of and access to telemedicine passed the Senate this week. The measure will cover Hoosiers on Medicaid who get healthcare through telemedicine practices like videoconferences and electronic communications.

Republican Rep. Cindy Kirchhofer authored the proposal and says the expansion includes addiction and behavioral health treatment that often requires extensive services.

“You have the management of the other wrap-around services to lift you up as you are going through your treatment program,” says Kirchhofer.

Indiana’s telemedicine law was changed last year to allow doctors to prescribe medicine without seeing a patient in person first.

This year’s bill expands prescribing practices but still restricts opioid prescriptions unless they are part of the patient’s treatment plan like suboxone or methadone.

Kirchhofer says the bill will help reach the growing number of people dealing with opioid addiction in places with shortages of qualified providers.

“To assist their treatment team and the large demand of patient needs but with only limited number of psychiatrists,” Kirchhofer says.

Telemedicine is being used increasingly in rural areas where access to health care can be more difficult.