Telemedicine bills in state hoppers

In his article, Linkous decried the legislative barriers that have impeded the advance of telehealth.

"Since ATA was launched in 1993, the leading barriers to the deployment of telemedicine in the U.S. have almost all involved government policy: Reimbursement by Medicare and Medicaid, state-based standards of care and professional licensing, device regulation and telecommunications policy, just to name a few. To date, government has been telehealth's lagging partner," he wrote.

Linkous then predicted that 2013 would be a banner year for telehealth. He noted the 16 states that have adopted telehealth legislation as well as the 14 states that provide some coverage for telemonitoring and seven that cover video-based home care. He also highlighted California Rep. Mike Thompson's recently introduced Telehealth Promotion Act, new rules issued by the Federal Communications Commission regarding the rural health program, and impending regulations from the Food and Drug Administration governing mobile medical devices.

"So 2013 will be chock-full of activity," Linkous concluded. "It is a year for federal and state governments to play catch-up with the rest of the health and technology sectors by either supporting the use of telemedicine or at least by ceasing to be a roadblock in its pathway to the future."