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Telehealth Modernization Act of 2015

Introduced on 2-3-15 by Doris Matsui [D-CA-6] and referred to the Energy and Commerce Committee, then the Subcommittee on Health. Cosponsors are Bill Johnson [R-OH-6] and Bill Foster [D-IL-11]

Purpose: To promote the provision of telehealth by establishing a Federal standard for telehealth.

Calls for states to authorize health care professionals to deliver health care to individuals through telehealth. The term “telehealth” means health care delivered by a health care professional to an individual not in person, from any location to any other location, and by means of real-time video, secure chat or secure email, or integrated telephony.

SEC. 2. Findings.

(1) Telehealth technologies can transform health care delivery by improving access to quality care by removing traditional barriers such as distance, mobility, and time constraints.

(2) The use of telecommunication technologies has the potential to reduce costs, improve quality, change conditions of practice, and improve access to health care, particularly in rural and medically underserved areas.

(3) A patchwork of State regulatory environments poses legal and regulatory hurdles that are inhibiting the proliferation of private-sector telehealth innovations and have created significant uncertainty for the telehealth community. 40 out of 50 States have introduced legislation addressing telehealth policy, with wide variations in how telehealth is defined.

(4) To provide States with appropriate guidance, Congress should provide a workable Federal definition of telehealth that ensures the highest common denominator of care while facilitating future innovation.

SEC. 3. Federal standard for telehealth.

(1) In general.—If a State authorizes a health care professional to deliver health care to an individual, the State should also authorize the health care professional to deliver such health care to such individual through telehealth, subject to the conditions specified in subsection (b).

(2) Conditions.—

(a) Accessibility and review of medical history.

(b) Identification of underlying conditions and contraindications to recommended treatment.

(c) Diagnosis—the professional should have a conversation with the individual adequate to establish any diagnosis rendered.

(4) The health care professional should document the evaluation and treatment delivered to the individual

(5) TRANSPARENCY REGARDING PROFESSIONAL CREDENTIALS.— the health care professional should provide in electronic and paper format, information regarding education, certification, and credentials.

(6) No promise of items or services based on fee or completing a form.

(7) PRESCRIPTION REQUIREMENTS.—Any prescription issued by the health care professional as part of the health care delivered to the individual should meet the following requirements:

(a) issued for a legitimate medical purpose in the usual course of professional practice by a professional who has obtained a medical history and conducted an evaluation of the individual adequate to establish a diagnosis.

(b) The prescription is not for a controlled drug

(c) The prescription is filled by an appropriately licensed dispensing entity.