McDonnell signs bill expanding telemedicine coverage

Edited by Chris Graham

Gov. Bob McDonnell visited Virginia Commonwealth University’s Minimally Invasive Surgery Center today to sign into law legislation dramatically expanding telemedicine coverage for Virginians.

The governor was joined at the early afternoon event by Dr. Michael Rao, president of VCU, and Dr. Karen Rheuban, medical director of the University of Virginia Office of Telemedicine.

Joining the event via teleconference from Southwest Virginia were Sen. William Wampler (R-Bristol) who patroned the legislation, and Del. Terry Kilgore (R-Gate City.) Dels. Bill Janis (R-Glen Allen), Jennifer McLellan (D-Richmond) and Delores McQuinn (D-Richmond) all attended the event.

The legislation signed was SB 675. The measure makes certain that health insurers will cover and reimburse for healthcare services provided through telemedicine.

“Telemedicine can save both dollars and lives,” McDonnell said. “This growing medical field utilizes modern technology to ensure that all Virginians are properly diagnosed and treated no matter where they live and in a cost-efficient manner. Telemedicine brings the best doctors into every clinic and hospital in our Commonwealth at the click of a mouse. These are tough economic times. We must look for every opportunity to use technology to improve the lives of our citizens, while keeping costs down. This is the same principle behind our virtual school legislation that I will sign into law in Lynchburg on Wednesday. I thank Sen. Wampler for carrying the telemedicine bill this session. This is smart legislation that will improve the lives of Virginians.”

“In many areas of Virginia there is not the same access to medical care and expertise that we may find in our more populated regions,” Wampler said. “Telemedicine brings that expertise to every community through the simple means of a laptop or telephone. In a medical emergency every minute matters, and telemedicine ensures that not a minute is lost. It is also incredibly smart from a fiscal perspective. This is important legislation that will keep medical costs down while increasing access to life-saving medical assistance and knowledge.”

“Information is the greatest medicine,” Rheuban said. “A proper diagnosis provided in a timely manner can all too often be the difference in a positive or negative outcome. Unfortunately doctors cannot be everywhere, and for a long time geography proved to be one of the greatest impediments to proper care. Telemedicine utilizes our new technologies to ensure that patients in every community have access to the best possible care and. With this legislation to expand access to telemedicine we are helping more Virginians to get the treatment they need, and to live the healthy lives we all deserve.”

augusta free press news