Telehealth has the potential to expand access to healthcare, lower costs, and improve care quality and patient outcomes across the country. However, in order to take full advantage of new technologies and advances in telemedicine, Congress must create a national telehealth framework that breaks down the barriers to widespread adoption, according to industry stakeholders who testified May 1 before the House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee.

Witnesses told lawmakers that Medicare should significantly expand reimbursement for telehealth services regardless of geographic location, service type, or real-time nature of the services. At the hearing, Rashid Bashshur, Executive Director for eHealth at the University of Michigan Health System, lamented the fact that the total expenditure on telemedicine service in 2013 by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services was a mere $12 million compared to the billions of dollars spent on broadband and telemedicine infrastructure.

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