Maryland’s Telemedicine Programs Take Effect

Marylands Telemedicine Programs Take Effect

Maryland is now in the process of implementing two telemedicine programs: the Rural Access Telemedicine Program, and the Cardiovascular Disease and Stroke Program. Governor Martin O’Malley originally signed the legislation in 2012 (Senate Bill 781), but it is currently in the process of taking effect.

According to the Maryland’s Department of Health and Hygiene, consumers who have Medicaid fee-for-service, managed care, or long-term care plans will be able to benefit from the following perks from expanded telemedicine use:

  • Expanded access to providers; and instant access to other providers
  • Faster and more convenient treatment; better continuity of care
  • Reduction of lost work time and travel costs related to care
  • Ability to remain within support networks
  • Reduction of medical errors

But what exactly is telemedicine? And is it effective? The word acts as an umbrella term for many new trends in tech-medicine: reducing health disparities via technology, file sharing across institutions, email integration into patient-doctor dynamics, virtual house calls, and so on. In general, it is the increasing use of sophisticated communications and software technologies into the medical system to solve some of the biggest problems in health care—distance, information accuracy and efficiency. Ideally, with telemedicine a farmer in a remote part of western Maryland will be able to receive top-quality care for his wife, who has Parkinson’s disease.

As to telemedicine’s effectiveness, one of the top studies was conducted by Maryland’s Johns Hopkins University, and published last month (Dec 2013). The study found that 100% of a 55-patient group who took part in a virtual house call would be likely to “recommend telemedicine to a friend.” Patient satisfaction hovered near 90%, according to the study.

Other telemedicine bills—such as Senate Bill 496, 776, 798, and House Bill 934—have since cleared Governor O’Malley’s desk, so it looks as if telemedicine is here to stay.

Submitted by Nathalie Griffin-Ames, CPA

KatzAbosch is a leading accounting firm to the medical industry.  To contact the KatzAbosch Medical Services Group, please call 410-828-CPAS (2727), or email: ngriffinames@katzabosch.com

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