Wisconsin’s governor has signed a bill that will make Medicaid reimburse patients for telehealth services.
The practice is used for patients who live in rural areas and don’t want to, or can’t, travel long distances to see a doctor.
Gundersen Health System CEO Scott Rathgaber says that travel can be a deterrent.
“We have lots of distances in our coverage area, and the more we can bring our care close to home and provide that expertise without our patients traveling is better care for all,” Rathgaber said.
Gundersen has been using telehealth services to connect with patients at its rural clinics for about 20 years.
While industry officials caution the changes might cost the state between $15-29.4 million, Rathgaber thinks patients will see a reduction in price.
“The cost savings is in the decreased need to travel, and a decreased need to take off from work,” Rathgaber said. “Things that are important things in people’s lives.
Rathgaber added that the future of telehealth is growing, and it won’t be long before technology will allow patients to test themselves at home, so doctors will know if something is wrong even sooner.
The Wisconsin Hospital Association also applauded the bill, saying it will remove barriers for those who live in rural communities for access to health care.