A new chapter was added to the California’s healthcare history, when Governor Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill 415, the Telehealth Advancement Act of 2011. The new Act is likely to open the door for far-reaching expansion of telehealth services in California.
In recognition of the far-reaching importance of telehealthcare, the Assembly Member Dan Logue (R-Chico) initiated the bill. The bill drew support from the state's telehealth stakeholders and leaders and passed with no opposing votes in the legislature.
The new Act is believed to be a significant advancement over California's 1996 Telemedicine Development Act. Patients in rural and remote areas are to especially benefit from the new act.
Steve Barrow, executive director of CSRHA, however, maintained that the legislation is important not only for the people living in rural California, but all Californians. With dramatic advancement in technology, people will no longer need to wait for specialty care or leave home for long trips to get care, Barrow pointed out.
According the press release, the act expands the range of telehealth services. The Act encourages the expansion in the list of telehealth provider by including all licensed healthcare professionals. The Act makes it easier for the California hospitals to establish medical credentials for telehealth providers.
The California State Rural Health Association (CSRHA), sponsor of the bill, worked in collaboration with the Center for Connected Health Policy (CCHP), the California Telemedicine and eHealth Center (CTEC), the California Telehealth Network (CTN) and many other health care organizations in the state, including the CCHP Telehealth Model Statute Work Group, to make crucial recommendations for the new bill.
“California has long been a national leader in the adoption and development of telehealth, and we are pleased that Governor Brown and Assemblyman Logue have acknowledged the incredible opportunity we have to revolutionize access to healthcare in our state. This new act enables healthcare providers to take better advantage of telehealth technology for preventative and specialized care that will save and enhance the lives of many Californians,” Executive Director of CTEC Christine Martin noted in a statement.
The American Telemedicine Association (News - Alert) (ATA), an organization which promotes remote healthcare technologies, few months back launched the ATA Mobile Health (mHealth) and ATA Student Member Discussion Groups to provide a forum to study and solve issues related to mHealth.