State legislators in Mississippi are taking seriously the opportunities in mobile health that could benefit thousands across the state in short order.
Last week, state house members approved legislation that, according to local reports, “would encourage more long-distance medical consultation by allowing insurance companies to pay physicians who consult with rural doctors via telemedicine.”
Supporters said health care professionals in 41 largely rural Mississippi counties often consult with specialists via the Internet, but the consulting doctors are not always paid for the consultations.
“It ultimately will lead to lower costs,” Rep. Charles Busby told a local publication, adding that which we already know to be true about telemedicine. Specifically, long-distance consultation may result in improved medical care for patients who may otherwise see their conditions worsen if left untreated.
“When they have treatment, they’re less likely to have chronic illness,” Busby said.
With more widespread adoption of the technology and easier access to it, the cost of installing the equipment needed to set up telemedicine in a rural medical facility has supposedly fallen from $40,000 to about $12,000, Busby claims.
The legislation, which was approved in the House by a lopsided margin (116-2) was sent to the Mississippi state Senate for consideration.