A new AHA TrendWatch report highlights the many challenges to realizing the promise of telehealth for hospitals, health systems and their communities. “From emergency department care to remote patient monitoring for chronic care management, telehealth is changing the way health care is provided – both expanding patient access to routine and specialty care while improving patient satisfaction and outcomes,” the report notes. But as telehealth use expands “myriad significant federal and state legal and regulatory issues will determine whether and how hospitals, health systems and other providers can offer specific telehealth services,” the report adds. It goes on to describe specific challenges ranging from coverage and payment issues to a lack of portability of health professional licenses and a patchwork of inconsistent state laws with respect to online prescribing. In comments submitted today for a recent Senate subcommittee hearing on advancing telehealth use, AHA also urged Congress “to consider the limitations of Medicare payment on services delivered via telehealth and expand support for broadband access for health care providers under the Health Care Connect Fund administered by the Federal Communications Commission.” 

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