Senate Committee Unanimously Backs WHA-Supported Telehealth Legislation

Vote clears the way for a vote in the full Senate

October 24, 2019

The State Senate Committee on Health and Human Services voted unanimously on Oct. 23 to advance Senate Bill 380, telehealth modernization legislation supported by WHA. Prior to the vote, Sen. Dale Kooyenga (R-Brookfield), who authored the legislation, described how he believes it will lower health care costs by increasing competition among providers – a sentiment echoed in many studies which suggest telehealth can increase quality and reduce costs by allowing providers to treat patients more efficiently.

The legislation is the culmination of three years of work by WHA’s Telemedicine Work Group, and includes the four following recommendations for how Wisconsin’s Medicaid program should cover telehealth services:
  • 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 telehealth services.
  • Increase access to behavioral health via telehealth.

WHA sent out a HEAT alert in advance of the vote urging WHA grassroots members to contact their Senator in support of the bill.

With the bill out of the Senate Committee, attention turns to the Assembly Committee on Medicaid Reform and Oversight, which may vote on the Assembly version of this legislation as early as next week. After that, the Senate and Assembly are expected to be on the floor in early November, and WHA is urging leaders in the Assembly and Senate to schedule this important legislation for a vote as soon as possible.

Contact WHA Director of State and Federal Relations Jon Hoelter or WHA General Counsel Matthew Stanford with questions.

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