Telemedicine Needs Privacy Protections

This letter was sent to Rep. Greenlick and members of his Health Care Committee concerning the privacy and safety standards for telemedicine.

OPINION -- Chair Greenlick and members of the Health Care Committee,
I have previously testified before the Senate Health Care Committee on this telemedicine bill.

Oregon Moves Towards Opening Telemedicine to People’s Homes

SB 144 requires health insurance companies to pay for medical and mental health visits provided by two-way video chat, regardless of setting. Supporters of the bill, including Providence and ZoomCare, were able to thwart a last-ditch effort by Regence and Health Net to delay the law; if passed, it takes effect in January.

The Senate Health Committee sent a bill to the floor Wednesday to move telemedicine services beyond the clinic or hospital setting to a client or patient’s home with unanimous, bipartisan support.

Telehealth Visits in Patient Homes in Good Shape for 2015 Session

A bill headed for the Senate Health Committee would require insurance companies to pay for services from physicians that are conducted via a two-way Internet video conference to the patient’s home computer. Hospitals and most insurance companies appear on board after killing a similar 2014 bill. that was pushed by ZoomCare.

Healthcare consumers could soon be able to meet with their doctor or nurse practitioner via two-way Internet video conference from the comfort of their homes, if a legislative recommendation becomes law next year.


Hospitals, Along with Providence and Regence, Stop Bill Requiring Telemedicine Payments

Portland clinic chain ZoomCare pushed a bill with the Telehealth Alliance of Oregon to require private insurance companies to pay for Skype diagnoses, but the hospital association succeeded in delaying the bill for another session. If the law were enacted, its members could end up with fewer emergency room visits, and a significant loss of revenue.

Update: This article was updated on Feb. 12 to reflect the legislative developments in SB 1560.


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