Telemedicine has been touted as a means to increase access to specialty care and improve the quality of care that patients receive, particularly in areas that do not have access to specialists like rural areas. In an effort to encourage greater use of telemedicine, more than half of states in the U.S. have passed telemedicine parity laws, which mandate that telemedicine visits by private insurers and/or Medicaid plans are covered. In contrast to these states and many private health plans, Medicare has taken a more cautious approach in reimbursing for telemedicine. Current Medicare regulations mandate that the interaction occur via live videoconference and that the patient must be hosted at a clinic or facility such as a hospital or skilled nursing facility in a rural region.
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