Policy barriers to telemedicine

Current laws restrict the use of telemedicine. Modern technology crosses state lines in almost every aspect of everyday life, and it is essential that there are modern health care laws and regulations to allow for the best possible care. PAN is focusing on two main policy barriers:

State licensure

Because there are a limited number of neurologists in certain states, people with Parkinson’s may need or want to see a doctor in another state via telemedicine. However, current law requires doctors to be licensed in the state where the patient is located, and the process for doctors to obtain multiple state licenses is burdensome and expensive. It is essential that this fragmented system is streamlined to allow patients access to care regardless of location. To learn more on PAN-endorsed state licensure legislation, click here.

Medicare reimbursement

Medicare only reimburses for telemedicine services if the patient is seen from an approved site in rural locations. Nearly 80% of Medicare beneficiaries do not meet these requirements and thus are not covered for telemedicine visits. In addition to setting and location restrictions, only certain physicians can provide certain services via telemedicine. For example, physical, occupational, and speech-language therapists are not reimbursed through Medicare if they see their patients via telemedicine. This is another issue PAN is working on in partnership with other patient advocacy organizations whose constituents also need greater Medicare coverage options. Learn more about Medicare coverage of telemedicine.