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Thune Applauds Proposal to Advance Telemedicine

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Senator John Thune advancing the call for Telemedicine in South Dakota.  (cchs.ua.edu)
Senator John Thune advancing the call for Telemedicine in South Dakota. (cchs.ua.edu)

Washington D.C. (KELO AM) - Senator John Thune (R-S.D.) and Senator Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.) today led a bipartisan group of 14 senators in sending a letter to the Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB), the association representing over 70 medical and osteopathic boards, applauding their efforts in advancing solutions toward allowing doctors to practice medicine across state lines, which will better facilitate the use of telemedicine.

Thune and Enzi, along with seven other bipartisan senators, spearheaded an initial letter in March of 2013 to the FSMB encouraging them to begin development of a comprehensive system that would allow states to retain control of medical licensure and ensure the safety of patients while allowing physicians portability of their license to practice outside of their licensing state in an effort to support the advancement of telehealth.

Recently, the FSMB and a drafting committee of the Interstate Compact Taskforce have begun to work out key details of a new option for medical licensing that would speed up the process of issuing licenses for physicians who wish to practice in multiple states. This interstate compact system is expected to significantly decrease the number of barriers to the process of gaining licensure in multiple states and helping facilitate licensure portability and telemedicine, while increasing access to health care, particularly in rural and underserved areas.

“In South Dakota, telehealth makes it easier for physicians to see patients that may not be able to easily or frequently travel to where the physician practices,” said Thune. “However, without a way to more efficiently license physicians across state lines, telehealth advancement is hindered. The development of this drafting committee and the progress they have already made is an important first step.”

“Folks in my home state of Wyoming often have to travel long distances to see a doctor, but telemedicine can bring the care they need right to their homes,” said Enzi. “Telemedicine has the ability to help expand access to care for rural states and communities and I applaud the progress being made to ensure that this is a viable and safe option for families and physicians alike.”

Signers of the letter include: John Thune (R-S.D.), Michael Enzi (R-Wyo.), Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), John Boozman (R-Ark.), Tom Carper (D-Del.), Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), Al Franken (D-Minn.), James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), Tim Johnson (D-S.D.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), John D. Rockefeller IV (D-W.Va.), and Mark Warner (D-Va.).

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