Effective use of telemedicine can increase access to health care, reduce health disparities, and create efficiencies in health care delivery. Telemedicine is generally considered as a viable means of delivering health care remotely through the use of communication technologies. Telemedicine can bridge the gaps of distance and health care disparity. Although telemedicine is well established, a number of technology and policy challenges need to be resolved before its full potential can be realized.
Telemedicine is an important strategy for Maryland to embrace for its cost reduction benefits and to improve access and delivery of health care services. Both providers and consumers can benefit from telemedicine. Consumers can experience expanded access to providers, faster and more convenient treatment, better continuity of care, reduction of lost work time and travel costs, and the ability to remain with support networks. Providers can experience instant access to other providers, a reduction of medical errors, an increase in efficiency with reduced travel and research times, and enhanced educational opportunities.
Telemedicine Task Force
The former Secretary of Health and Mental Hygiene requested the Telemedicine Task Force (task force) to establish advisory groups to further expand its expertise and make recommendations to the Health Quality and Cost Council in 2011. The groups established by the task force consisted of the Clinical, Technology Solutions and Standards and Financial and Business Model Advisory Groups. The MHCC led the Telemedicine Technology Solutions and Standards and the Financial and Business Model groups. The Task Force reported the advisory groups’ recommendations to the Maryland Quality and Cost Council in December of 2011 and the recommendations were sent to the State Legislature. The recommendations may be found here: Telemedicine Recommendations: A report prepared for the Maryland Quality and Cost Council
The recommendations resulted in Senate Bill 781, Health Insurance - Coverage for Services Delivered through Telemedicine, which was passed by the General Assembly during the 2012 legislative session and signed into law by Governor Martin O'Malley in May 2012. The law requires, among other things, certain insurers, nonprofit health service plans, and health maintenance organizations to provide coverage for health care services delivered through telemedicine.
Senate Bill 776, Telemedicine Task Force – Maryland Health Care Commission (SB 776), signed into law by Governor Martin O’Malley on May 2, 2013, requires MHCC in conjunction with the Maryland Health Quality and Cost Council to reconvene the 2010 task force. The task force is required to identify opportunities to expand the use of telemedicine to improve health status and care delivery in the State, assess factors related to telehealth, and identify strategies for telehealth deployment in rural areas. The task force’s three advisory groups, Clinical, Business and Financial Model, and Technology Solutions and Standards, will develop legislative recommendations for innovative care delivery models, improved access to specialized health care, and for hospitals to expand the use of telemedicine. An interim report is due to the Governor, Senate Finance Committee and the House Health and Government Operations Committee by January 1, 2014, and a final report is due by December 1, 2014. The task force will begin meeting in July 2013. A summary of SB 776 is available here.
The MHCC conducted an environmental scan to assess the Maryland telemedicine landscape to inform the task force: click here.
Telemedicine Task Force Members
Telemedicine Statewide Networks - Environmental Scan
Technology Solutions and Standards Advisory Group Meetings (MHCC)
The Telemedicine Task Force Financial and Business Model Advisory Group Meetings will be scheduled ad hoc (at MHCC) and posted online.
Clinical Advisory Group Meetings (MIEMSS/Room 212)
- Slide deck
- Telemedicine Information Brief
- SB 776
- American Telemedicine Association - State Telemedicine Legislation Tracking
- Key requirements of SB 776
- Advisory Group Requirements of SB 776
Technology Solutions and Standards Advisory Group
Wednesday, August 14, 2013
Wednesday, September 11, 2013
- Data Elements and Policies for Consideration
- Guiding Principles
- Meeting Summary
Clinical Advisory Group
Thursday, August 22, 2013
Monday, September 23, 2013
Thursday, October 24, 2013
For more information, contact Sarah Orth, Chief, Health Information Technology, by phone 410-764-3449 or email here.
Last Updated: November 14, 2013