Telemedicine great step to provide healthcare in underserved areas, Phillips-Hill says

HARRISBURG – The Senate passed a bill this week that will help make telemedicine services widely available to Pennsylvania patients. Senator Kristin Phillips-Hill (R-York) said the bill offers a way to overcome barriers to quality patient care created by distance, while at the same time reducing the costs of those services.

Telemedicine allows the delivery of health care services via advanced technologies, such as mobile apps, Skype and FaceTime.

Phillips-Hill, who chairs the Senate Communications and Technology Committee, held a series of public hearings on the digital divide in Pennsylvania. One of the key topics was how the lack of high-speed internet is negatively affecting rural communities who lack treatment options and the ability to communicate with physicians and specialists across the state. The committee heard from leading healthcare experts who said connecting more Pennsylvanians to the internet will improve access to vital health care and health services.

“Healthcare is no longer limited to the confines of traditional brick and mortar facilities,” said Phillips-Hill, who supported Senate Bill 857. “Telemedicine is one of the most promising quality of life opportunities we have for the people of this Commonwealth.”

Senate Bill 857 would make substantial changes in the health care industry. Physicians and other health practitioners delivering telemedicine services would still be required to follow standard state licensure and medical practice laws and requirements in Pennsylvania.

The legislation moves to the House of Representatives for consideration.

You can listen to Senator Phillips-Hill’s comments on the legislation here.