Resolution Supporting Efforts of Telehealth Working Group
WHEREAS, the cost of healthcare has grown an average of 2.4 percent faster than GDP since 1970 and currently represents 18 percent of the United States’ total GDP; and
WHEREAS, the lack of access to health care in rural areas is contributing significantly to these increasing costs; and
WHEREAS, 21 percent of the American population lives in rural areas, but only 11 percent of medical specialists practice in those areas, which frequently results in patients in these areas being dramatically underserved; and
WHEREAS, an integrated National medical response capability is essential to assist across state borders to deal with the medical impacts of major disasters; and
WHEREAS, technology has the potential to improve telehealth, which in turn may significantly improve access to health care in rural areas and in turn reduce costs for patients, states, and the federal government; and
WHEREAS, similar technologies have been effectively used in industries such as finance, transportation, and public safety to reduce costs and provide a more efficient product for consumers; and
WHEREAS, in order to take advantage of improvements in technology to better utilize telehealth and in turn improve access to health care in rural areas, reform is needed in medical licensure regulations and payment models; and
WHEREAS, one such means to promote these necessary reforms may be the use of an interstate compact; and
WHEREAS, similar medical licensing compacts already exist, including the Nurse Licensure Compact; and
WHEREAS, interstate compacts are unique tools reserved for states that encourage multistate cooperation and innovative policy solutions while asserting and preserving state sovereignty.
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT, the American Legislative Exchange Council supports the goals of the Telehealth Care Interstate Compact Working Group and urges it to continue working to explore the creation of a new interstate compact agreement designed to improve access to health care in rural areas by facilitating the interstate licensing of doctors and reforming the existing reimbursement system.
Approved by the ALEC Board of Directors January 9, 2014.