The Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, Innovation and the Internet held a hearing today on “Advancing Telehealth Through Connectivity.” Witnesses all agreed that telehealth is helping to lower costs and improve outcomes for patients with limited access to medical services. “Right now, the greatest challenges lie in winning the federal level reimbursement parity that will make telehealth attractive in the marketplace and securing the reliable, high quality connectivity that telehealth requires,” said Kristi Henderson, chief telehealth and innovation officer for the University of Mississippi Medical Center. Chris Gibbons, M.D., associate director of the Johns Hopkins Urban Health Institute and Distinguished Scholar in Residence for the Connect2Health Task Force at the Federal Communications Commission, said the task force is working to “shine a spotlight on what’s working and where the FCC, in collaboration with other federal and state stakeholders, can do more to help break down regulatory barriers.” AHA has urged Congress to modernize Medicare coverage and payment for telehealth. For more on the promise of telehealth for hospitals, health systems and their communities, see the recent AHA TrendWatch report.

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