Assembly Committee Hears WHA Push for Telehealth Modernization

September 24, 2019

WHA members and staff appeared before a key State Assembly Committee this afternoon (September 24) promoting WHA-supported legislation that would improve Wisconsin’s telehealth law. The bill, Assembly Bill 410, enjoys bipartisan support from more than 60 state legislators and is a key WHA legislative priority for the remaining 2019-20 legislative session.

In testimony presented to the Assembly Committee on Medicaid Reform and Oversight this afternoon, a panel of WHA staff and expert members shared the major recommendations from WHA’s Telemedicine Work Group which was created to help inform state policymakers how state law could better promote health care’s ability to provide high-quality care to Medicaid patients at a potential cost savings to the state. The recommendations:

  • Reimburse telehealth the same as in-person care when the quality of the care provided is functionally equivalent.
  • Catch up to Medicare in the number of telehealth-related services that are covered.
  • Cover in-home or community services.
  • Increase access to behavioral health.
Dr. Thomas Brazelton and Rachel Zorn from UW Health, Shana Kettunen from HSHS-Eastern Wisconsin Division and WHA General Counsel Matthew Stanford (all pictured at left) shared the WHA workgroup’s findings and provided real-world examples of how removing barriers in state law could allow more Medicaid patients to enjoy efficient, effective health care services via telehealth. Ms. Kettunen also shared a video HSHS produced showing telehealth-related caregiving in action.

The bill saw widespread support from a number of other organizations at the hearing and did not receive any opposition. The next step will be to have the committee vote on this legislation before it can come to the floor for a vote in the full Assembly. A companion bill to AB 410, Senate Bill 380, is currently in the Senate Committee on Health and Human Services, which is tentatively slated to hold a public hearing on this legislation the morning of October 9. Contact WHA’s Matthew Stanford or Jon Hoelter with any questions.

This story originally appeared in the September 24, 2019 edition of WHA Newsletter