Telemedicine is projected to exponentially grow through 2020, according to a recent report from Jackson Healthcare. But only if local governments allow it. Fortunately, New Jersey has begun to embrace telehealth services, though not without caveats.
The New Jersey Senate’s health committee unanimously approved a bipartisan bill late last month that would allow the growth of telemedicine, that is, the use of technology to provide healthcare remotely. According to the American Telemedicine Association, while New Jersey residents already use telemedicine, the state has no laws specific to the service. The legislation would rectify this and expand telemedicine’s use by laying the framework for how it must be practiced and compensated. The Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee will be next to review the bill, and they need to keep the parts of the bill that will make telemedicine accessible while amending the bill to take advantage of the service’s other promise: affordability.
The bill would allow patients to establish relationships with doctors remotely, eliminating the need for an in-person examination under most circumstances. The major exception would be when doctors need to prescribe “controlled dangerous substances”.
Further, the bill defines the originating site in comprehensive enough terms for patients to use telemedicine in home settings. That’s a big deal since some states such as Arkansas narrowly define the “originating site” and limit patients to receiving telemedicine in a healthcare setting.
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