ERIC Submits Testimony Supporting Louisiana Senate Bill on Telehealth

April 12, 2016

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Chairman Fred Mills, Jr. and Committee Members
Senate Health and Welfare Committee
Louisiana State Capitol
900 North Third Street
Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70804

RE: WRITTEN TESTIMONY REGARDING SENATE BILL 328

Dear Chairman Mills and Members of the Committee:

The ERISA Industry Committee (ERIC) is pleased to support Louisiana Senate Bill 328 (SB 328) regarding telehealth. ERIC represents large employers with the goal of ensuring telehealth 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 Louisiana.

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 for workers, retirees, and their families.

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 telehealth, ERIC encourages the Committee to:

  • ADOPT technology-neutral requirements, permitting use of different types of technology platforms that are designed for telehealth; 
  • 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 Louisiana;  
  • AVOID restrictions that require patients to visit specific locations (e.g., “originating sites”) in order to access telehealth services;
  • AVOID imposing additional requirements on providers that offer telehealth 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 telehealth, either through a telehealth visit or remote monitoring of health conditions.

ERIC urges the Committee to consider the needs of patients in Louisiana that stand to benefit from increased access to telehealth services, to support SB 328, and to advance this bill out of committee favorably.