Becker telemedicine payment parity bill heads to governor’s desk

Telemedicine services will be reimbursed at same rate as if service provided in-person

OLYMPIA…A bill sponsored by Sen. Randi Becker, R-Olympia, that will provide reimbursements to telemedicine providers at the same rates as if the services had been provided in person has passed both chambers of the Washington State Legislature and now heads to the governor’s desk for his signature.

Becker, who has championed the expansion of access to health care through telemedicine, sponsored Senate Bill 5385 to remove reimbursement rates as a barrier to that effort.

“Telemedicine is the future in health care,” said Becker. “It’s critical to those who live in rural areas because they don’t often have many providers, particularly specialists, within a short drive of home. They end up spending hours traveling to and from doctor’s appointments, which is not always practical or possible.

“It will also become critical to the elderly population and to those who are confined at home like many are now during our current public health crisis. Telemedicine could make a real difference in containing something as highly contagious as coronavirus.

“Whatever we can do to encourage doctors to provide telemedicine access, we should do now. Providing payment parity is a logical step in that direction.”

SB 5385 will become law 90 days after the end of the current legislative session.