PAMED Supports New AMA Telemedicine Policy Principles for Coverage, Payment

The AMA House of Delegates at their Annual Meeting June 7-11, 2014, approved a set of principles to ensure the appropriate coverage of and payment for telemedicine services. These principles, which align with PAMED’s goals on telemedicine and were supported by the PAMED delegation, are designed to improve future innovation in the use of telemedicine while ensuring patient safety, quality of care, and privacy of patient information.

The principles set out a number of conditions for coverage and payment, including abiding by state licensure laws and following evidence-based practice guidelines. The AMA policy also:

  • Encourages additional research to develop a stronger evidence base for telemedicine
  • Supports additional pilot programs in the Medicare program to enable coverage of telemedicine services, including but not limited to store-and-forward telemedicine
  • Urges physicians to verify that their medical liability insurance policy covers telemedicine services, including telemedicine services provided across state lines if applicable, prior to the delivery of any telemedicine service

The AMA also adopted a PAMED resolution to seek compatibility for e-prescriptions for controlled substances. The resolution was introduced by Pennsylvania AMA delegate and speaker of the PAMED House of Delegates Martin Trichtinger, MD.

PAMED continues to work with the Department of Health and other stakeholders to find solutions to telemedicine barriers. Our members have told us the biggest barrier remains increasing the number of third-party payers who reimburse for telemedicine in the commonwealth. Other states have enacted legislation to mandate third-party payments. Here’s one PAMED member’s take on barriers in telemedicine.