American Telemedicine Association Applauds Massachusetts For Its Leadership In Making Telehealth A Permanent Option For Its Residents

Governor Baker signs into law a healthcare bill that ensures access to telehealth

WASHINGTON, DC, JANUARY 4, 2021 — The American Telemedicine Association (ATA) commends Massachusetts for its leadership and prudent actions to make telehealth available to its residents. On New Year’s Day, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker signed into law a healthcare bill that requires insurance companies to cover behavioral telehealth visits the same way they cover in-person care, mandates rate parity for two years for primary and chronic disease care and provides a short-term model for how those services will be paid. Importantly, this new law allows to providers to use all available and appropriate telehealth technologies to deliver care and communicate with both new and existing patients.

“The ATA applauds Governor Baker, new House Speaker Ron Mariano, Senator Cindy Friedman and members of the conference committee for their leadership in taking this important step towards making telehealth a permanent option in this sensible and laudable legislation,” said Ann Mond Johnson, CEO, the ATA.  “The ATA believes a patient-provider relationship can be established via telehealth, and we are grateful that a provision found in an earlier version of the bill mandating an in-person relationship was left out of the final bill. This is positive and much-needed legislation to start 2021 off on the right foot.”

The ATA had previously voiced support for eliminating the requirement for an initial in-person diagnosis before a provider can prescribe for treatment through a telehealth encounter, as highlighted in a recent op ed written by Joseph C. Kvedar, MD, ATA Chair of the Board.

About the ATA

As the only organization completely focused on advancing telehealth, the American Telemedicine Association is committed to ensuring that everyone has access to safe, affordable, and appropriate care when and where they need it, enabling the system to do more good for more people. The ATA represents a broad and inclusive member network of leading health care delivery systems, academic institutions, technology solution providers and payers, as well as partner organizations and alliances, working to advance industry adoption of telehealth, promote responsible policy, advocate for government and market normalization, and provide education and resources to help integrate virtual care into emerging value-based delivery models.

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