telemedicine pa

Landmark Bipartisan Telemedicine Reform Heads to Gov. Shapiro’s Desk

Harrisburg, Pa., June 26, 2024 — Today, the Pennsylvania Senate passed Senate Bill (SB) 739—a bill to expand telemedicine access in the commonwealth—by a vote of 49 to 1. Previously passing the House by a vote of 194 to 8, SB 739 heads to Gov. Josh Shapiro’s desk, carrying tremendous bipartisan support.

SB 739 expands health insurance in Pennsylvania to cover and reimburse telemedicine services. It aims to make telemedicine more widely accessible and fairly treated under health insurance policies. The Commonwealth Foundation applauds the legislature’s willingness to come together and pass this crucial legislation and urges the governor to sign the bill into law.

Commonwealth Foundation Director of Government Affairs Abbey Haslam issued the following statement in response:

“Telemedicine plays a crucial role in enhancing health care affordability and improving access for patients across the commonwealth. SB 739 personalizes Pennsylvania’s health care system, removing the uncertainty that has hindered the growth of telemedicine in the state. By ensuring that insurance covers telemedicine, SB739 provides patients with more options and greater flexibility in managing their health.

“Telemedicine reduces hospitalizations, cuts down on appointment no-shows, and saves time and money. Moreover, it’s what Pennsylvanians want. According to our latest polling, 90 percent of Pennsylvania voters believe elected officials should take measures to make health care more flexible and accessible, while 89 percent support expanding telemedicine to do just that. Another 85 percent think patients should be able to consult with doctors in other states virtually.

“The desire to expand telemedicine transcends party lines and political persuasions—as today’s bipartisan vote clearly illustrates. We strongly encourage Governor Shapiro to sign this bill into law, upholding one of his campaign commitments to bolster telemedicine.

“SB 739’s passage marks a key victory, setting the stage to allow all Pennsylvanians to benefit from virtual medical consultations regardless of their insurance provider. But reforming our health care system shouldn’t stop there. We also urge the legislature to pass Senate Bill 25, an initiative granting nurse practitioners full practice authority. Like SB 739, SB 25 would expand access to care and empower health care providers across the state.”

View the full results from the Commonwealth Foundation’s latest Common Ground in the Commonwealth poll here.


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