Gratwick bill to promote access to health care in rural Maine signed into law

Posted: June 13, 2019 | Senator Gratwick

AUGUSTA — A bill introduced by Sen. Geoff Gratwick, D-Bangor, to support access to health care in rural Maine through telehealth services was signed into law by Gov. Janet Mills on Thursday. The bill, LD 1263, “An Act Regarding Telehealth,” requires health insurance companies in Maine to cover telehealth services and ensures rules regarding reimbursement and liability are consistent.

“Telehealth is one important face of the progress of modern medicine,” said Sen. Gratwick. “Allowing patients in rural Maine to communicate with their providers remotely will save time, money and lives. I thank Gov. Mills for her support of this measure.”

Telehealth is defined as health care services provided by the use of interactive real-time visual and audio or other electronic media. Both Maine Health and Northern Light Health, which operate a combined 29 health care facilities across Maine, offer telehealth services to their patients. In 2016, the Maine Department of Health and Human Services adopted rules allowing health care providers to bill MaineCare for telehealth services. This bill requires private insurance carriers to adhere to similar rules.

LD 1263 will take effect 90 days after the Legislature adjourns sine die.