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Lawmakers working to ensure post-pandemic access to telemedicine

Throughout the pandemic, access to telemedicine has been expanded in Mississippi under the governor’s ‘state of emergency order’ and a bulletin issued by the Mississippi Insurance Department. State lawmakers, including Senator Nicole Akins-Boyd, are working to ensure continued access in the future.  

The Insurance Department’s bulletin, which essentially directs insurance companies to cover telemedicine, will remain in effect until the governor’s order expires—currently set for October 15th. 

With the order’s expiration date looming, the House and Senate Insurance Committees are holding joint hearings with the intent of introducing legislation during the 2022 session to codify the language of the bulletin. Both chambers passed their own version of such a bill during the previous session, but conferees failed to strike a deal and the measures died.

Boyd joined MidDays on SuperTalk Mississippi today to discuss how the emergence of telemedicine has been a silver lining throughout the pandemic.

“I think it’s important, particularly for this state, when we have so many needs when it comes to healthcare access that we use all the tools in the toolbox,” she said.

The District 9 Senator expressed her hope that insurance providers will support the bill and pointed to the success of the VA following their emphasis on expanding telemedicine. She stated that the system has since saved $1 billion a year, amounting to $6,500 a patient.

The University of Mississippi Medical Center is one of just two ‘Centers of Excellence in Telehealth’ in the country. 

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