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Celebrating City Council for Work on Telehealth Act


On November 1st, the American Heart Association (AHA) co-hosted a press conference to appauld D.C. City Council for the passage of the D.C. Telehealth Reimbursement Act of 2013. AHA strongly supported the D.C. Telehealth Reimbursement Act of 2013 introduced by Councilmember Mary Cheh. This bipartisan law calls for the adoption of payment innovations to include telehealth coverage within private payors and Medicaid.

"We thank the leadership within D.C. City Council in moving this measure forward that will improve healthcare accessibility and affordability," said Jennifer Witten, Senior Director of Government Relations. "This act creates parity of payment for providers that are innovative in their approach to care to address current gaps and healthcare needs for residents throughout the District of Columbia, as well as our border states.”

“This legislation is important because it encourages the use of evidence-based health technologies to connect patients with needed medical providers,” said Amie Hsia, MD, medical director of the Stroke Center at MedStar Washington Hospital Center. “Our stroke neurologists provide care not only to patients who present to the Hospital Center, but we also remotely support other area hospitals that may not have immediate on-site neurologists available. Time is critical in treating stroke, and this bill supporting the use of telemedicine advocates for all stroke patients to receive timely, quality care.”

“Despite the huge body of data that unequivocally shows that telemedicine saves lives, improves medical outcomes, and dramatically decreases health care costs, reimbursement for telemedicine services has been very limited. The DC Telehealth Reimbursement Act will allow for greatly improved access to healthcare for underserved children and adults in the District of Columbia,” said Craig Sable, MD, Director of Echocardiography and Acting Executive Director of Telemedicine at Children’s National.

The recent telemedicine enactment in the District follows similar health policy reforms established in Maryland (2012) and Virginia (2010), however with its final approved version becomes one of the most comprehensive reimbursement laws in the country. This now places the Capitol region at the forefront for enhanced access to quality and cost-effective healthcare services via telehealth.

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