ERIC Submits Testimony on Mississippi Telehealth Bill

March 15, 2016

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Chairman Dean Kirby

Senate Public Health and Welfare Committee

400 High Street

Jackson, MS 39201

RE: WRITTEN TESTIMONY REGARDING HOUSE BILL 1178

Mr. Chair and Members of the Committee,

The ERISA Industry Committee (ERIC) is pleased to support Mississippi House Bill 1178 (H.B. 1178) regarding telehealth. ERIC represents large employers with the goal of ensuring telemedicine benefits are accessible for millions of workers, retirees, and their families.

ERIC speaks in one voice for our members – the country’s largest employers – on their benefit and compensation interests, including many members with employees and retirees in Mississippi.

As plan sponsors, our members strive to provide the best health care possible to their employees, retirees, and families at affordable costs. At ERIC, we seek to enhance our members’ ability to provide high-quality, affordable health care. We recognize the significant opportunity provided by telehealth to modernize health care delivery and improve access to quality medical care.

ERIC members want their employees to have the care they need – when and how they need it. Telehealth provides many unique benefits that are appreciated by employees, retirees, and their families because it:

  • Increases access to medical care, with the needed flexibility to receive care 24-hours a day, seven days a week;
  • Provides access to care for rural and urban underserved populations, retirees, the elderly, disabled employees, and those with language barriers, chronic conditions, or transportation barriers that may otherwise not have access to care;
  • Minimizes the time spent attending to health care needs, while ensuring access to health care professionals at times and locations that are convenient; and
  • Allows access to health care that is provided at an affordable, cost-effective rate.

To achieve a balanced regulatory environment for telemedicine, ERIC encourages the Committee to:

  • ADOPT technology-neutral requirements, permitting use of different types of technology platforms that are designed for telemedicine;
  • ADOPT licensing policies that facilitate inter-state practice so providers, located in or out of the state, who deliver high-quality care, can serve patients located in Mississippi;
  • AVOID restrictions that require patients to visit specific locations (e.g., “originating sites”) in order to access telemedicine services;
  • AVOID imposing additional requirements on providers that offer telemedicine services that are not imposed on in-person visits; and
  • CONSIDER the needs of patients to have better access to care that can be provided via telemedicine, either through a telemedicine visit or remote monitoring of health conditions.

ERIC urges the Committee to consider the needs of patients in Mississippi that stand to benefit from increased access to telemedicine services, to support H.B. 1178, and to advance this bill out of committee favorably.

Thank you for considering large employers’ interests in telehealth. We welcome the opportunity to serve as a resource to the Committee as it considers legislation and the importance of telehealth to large employers.