The University of Arizona

Governor Signs Telemedicine Bill at UA College of Medicine-Phoenix

By Al Bravo, UA College of Medicine-Phoenix | May 24, 2013
Gov. Jan Brewer signed Senate Bill 1353 at the UA College of Medicine-Phoenix.
Gov. Jan Brewer signed Senate Bill 1353 at the UA College of Medicine-Phoenix.

The signing of Senate Bill 1353, also known as the Telemedicine Reimbursement Parity Act, took place in the T-Health Institute on the UA College of Medicine-Phoenix campus.

The Arizona Telemedicine Program links 70 communities, at 160 sites.
The Arizona Telemedicine Program links 70 communities, at 160 sites.
UA College of Medicine-Phoenix
UA College of Medicine-Phoenix

Gov. Jan Brewer on May 23 participated in a ceremonial signing of Senate Bill 1353, also known as the Telemedicine Reimbursement Parity Act, requiring telemedicine services be covered by health insurance in rural areas of Arizona.
 
The bill was unanimously approved by both the House and Senate and was signed by Brewer in a ceremony held in the T-Health Institute on the campus of the University of Arizona College of Medicine-Phoenix. The institute is part of the award-winning Arizona Telemedicine Program based at the UA College of Medicine-Tucson.
 
Senate Bill 1353, sponsored by Sen. Gail Griffin, says beginning in 2015 insurers must cover patient care services provided through the telemedicine service programs, if the insurers pay for the services when they are provided in a traditional clinic or hospital setting.
 
The Arizona Telemedicine Program was established by the Arizona Legislature in 1996. "This telemedicine network now links 70 Arizona communities, at 160 sites, and has handled more than 1 million cases," said Brewer in signing the legislation. "Senate Bill 1353 will make health-care delivery faster, more accessible, less expensive and more effective – particularly for those rural Arizonans."
 
"Our telemedicine program is a critical link to health care. We primarily are devoted to improving access to specialized medical care throughout the State of Arizona," said Dr. Ronald S. Weinstein, co-founder and director of the Arizona Telemedicine Program.
 
Arizona Corporation Commissioner Bob Burns, a former Arizona legislator, credited Griffin for getting her bill passed with "no 'no' votes" in the House or the Senate – a rare case of unanimity, as it would be in any state Legislature.
 
Burns has championed the Arizona Telemedicine Program since 1996, when he and Weinstein obtained state funding for the program and got it up and running.
 
"There is so much to be proud of in terms of what's been done," Weinstein told the audience, "and there is so much more to do going forward."
 
Arizona telemedicine programs cover the state and even spill over into Utah and New Mexico, with a wide range of health services from teleradiology to telepsychiatry.
 
The new law defines telemedicine services as the delivery of health care, diagnosis, consultation and treatment and the transfer of medical data through interactive audio, video or data communications that occur in the physical presence of the patient.

Contacts

Al Bravo

UA College of Medicine-Phoenix

602-827-2022

bravoal@email.arizona.edu