Indiana Governor Mike Pence recently signed into law Senate Enrolled Act (SEA) 554, requiring Telehealth services (remote monitoring of critical patient medical data such as blood pressure, pulse, weight, oxygen levels, etc.) to be reimbursed for home health agencies in the Indiana Medicaid program. The bill also allows telemedicine services (electronic face to face encounters) to be reimbursed for community health centers, rural health centers and other settings. The bill was the result of efforts on the part of the Indiana Association for Home and Hospice Care (IAHHC) and several other key health care trade associations.
“Senate Enrolled Act 554 is the culmination of many years’ worth of hard work by our industry,” IAHHC Executive Director Evan Reinhardt said. The IAHHC has spent the last several years making the case for Telehealth. “It is our hope that our fellow states and the federal government will see the value of Telehealth, both for its quality of care to the patient and the dollars saved on hospital readmissions and doctor’s office visits,” Reinhardt added.
The provision of Telehealth services by home health agencies is a straightforward use of medical technology that tracks patients’ medical data in real time for any fluctuation or changes that might signal a change in condition that needs to be addressed. This direct link to medical information plus patient feedback allows Telehealth to accomplish a great deal while utilizing minimal resources.
VNA Plus provides Telehealth services to patients coping with specific chronic diseases and also as part of its Heal at Home program, designed to reduce emergency room visits and repeated hospitalizations. VNA Plus Executive Director Gloria Horton notes, “It is encouraging to see the state of Indiana recognize the importance of this type of technology; and as an IAHHC agency, we were excited to participate in the bill signing with Governor Pence.”