New York will soon see improvements to telehealth access. A new bill was signed into law by Governor Cuomo late last week that will expand the availability of telemedicine throughout New York. The bill was sponsored by Assemblywoman Addie J. Russell.
Telehealth or telemedicine allows doctors and patients to communicate at a distance. Often that communication involves the use of video conferencing tools that allow patients to “see” doctors even if they live some distance from the provider’s office. Telemedicine has seen steady growth in adoption and availability among rural populations and others that face geographical and transportational challenges when it comes to healthcare.
The new bill will allow for Medicaid reimbursement on a range of services done remotely. This is a key provision of the bill as it sets up a payment structure for telehealth which has historically seen a lower rate of adoption when compensation for healthcare providers is unclear.
New York has also worked to expand broadband access – more specifically high speed broadband which is capable of handling the large amounts of data required for transferring patient files and managing video conferencing.
A provision in the legislation will also provide grant funding to expand video conferencing access for schools that want to provide remote psychological counseling.