EHR Intelligence - Congressman proposes mHealth bill to measure cost savings
Jennifer Bresnick - Representative Scott Peters (R-CA) has introduced a bill that would establish a commission intended to collect and study data on the potential of new technologies, including mHealth, to save money throughout the healthcare system. The committee would develop a comprehensive strategy for integrating telehealth and mHealth into existing payment structures and care strategies, exploring the potential for greater reimbursement from Medicare and Medicaid in order to help mobile health technology reach elderly and low-income patients.
“The vast majority of Americans now use some sort of mobile device today; people can now monitor glucose levels, track calories, or be alerted to harmful drug interactions over their phone or tablet,” Peters said in a statement. “San Diego is ahead of the curve in wireless health care discovery so providing incentives for it supports economic growth in my district, and helps bend the cost curve across the country.”
Peters has also recently introduced a bill to expand telehealth services for the Military Health System and Department of Veterans Affairs, co-sponsoring the legislation to provide a more robust reimbursement structure that would extend remote consults and other technologies to active duty service members, veterans, and their families. The VA has seen great success with its telehealth programs so far, and is considered a leader in the field.
However, there is much work to be done in order to bring mHealth to the mainstream consumer. “Currently, the federal government does a poor job of taking into account the cost-effectiveness of technological innovation over the long term when making budget projections,” Peters’ statement said. “This short-sighted process is a disincentive to innovation and harms the potential for technology to reduce the cost of providing health care.”
The American Telemedicine Association (ATA) voiced support for the legislation, stating that “mobile technologies can fundamentally change health care delivery for the longstanding approach of the patient having to go to the care to a truly patient-centered approach of having the care go to the patient – anywhere, anytime.”
The proposed committee would include nineteen members, including experts appointed by various legislative bodies and representatives from providers, vendors, academic institutions, patient advocacy groups, and health plans. The group would be responsible for producing an interim report within nine months of its establishment and provide a final version of its findings less than a year later.