The Michigan House of Representatives passed a series of bills last week aimed at expanding telehealth in Michigan, including one that expands Medicaid coverage under the Healthy Michigan program for telehealth.
(TNS) — The Michigan House of Representatives passed a series of bills Wednesday, May 13, aimed at expanding telehealth in Michigan.
House Bill 5416 was introduced by Rep. Mary Whiteford, R-Casco Township. The bill expands Medicaid coverage under the Healthy Michigan program for telehealth visits which take place in a person's home or in school setting.
HB 5416 is one of five bills introduced in the House aimed at expanding telehealth.
Telehealth practices have become more common during the coronavirus pandemic, as healthy patients who don't need immediate medical treatment can avoid visiting facilities and risking exposure to COVID-19.
The package also includes legislation which would allow for patients to send in pre-recorded videos to health providers, as currently telehealth appointments can only take place in real time to receive Healthy Michigan coverage.
The bills to include recorded videos in telehealth coverage was introduced by Rep. Hank Vaupel and Rep. Douglas Wozniak.
"This innovative solution to health care access is invaluable to rural communities like ours, especially as COVID-19 regulations prevent many people from receiving the routine and preventative health care they need," Whiteford said in a statement.
"I am proud to have the support of the medical community behind this legislation and I hope to see it sail through the process so we can get people appointments with their doctors from home."
Whiteford added by allowing recorded videos to be considered telehealth, doctors will have time to analyze lab results before directly responding to patients.
According to the non-partisan House Fiscal Agency, the bills would "likely increase Medicaid-related expenditures a minimal amount from increased access to and utilization of telemedicine.
"If Medicaid costs would increase, the federal share of the increase would be 64.06% for traditional Medicaid and 90.75% for Healthy Michigan Plan."
The federal share is the amount of Medicaid expenses paid for by the federal government.
Every bill in the package, HB 5412-5416, passed the House unanimously and now advances to the Senate for consideration.
©2020 Holland Sentinel, Mich. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
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