Indiana Chamber of Commerce


Health Care and Workplace Safety

Bill to Reimburse Medicaid Providers for
Telehealth Passes Senate Unanimously

Bill # and Title: SB 554 – Telehealth Services Under Medicaid
Authors: Sen. Vaneta Becker (R-Evansville), Sen. Jean Leising (R-Oldenburg) and Sen. Jean Breaux (D-Indianapolis)
Summary: Requires the Office of Medicaid Policy and Planning to reimburse: (1) a home health agency for telehealth services; and (2) a federally qualified health center and a rural health clinic for telemedicine services; under the Medicaid program.
Chamber Position: Support
Status: The bill passed the Senate by a unanimous vote of 50-0.

Update/Chamber Action: The bill is an approach to leverage more provider services to the Medicaid population by the use of video conferencing of medical exams and consultations (aka telemedicine) and the use of telecommunications and information technology to access health assessments, diagnosis, intervention and consultation across a distance (aka telehealth). With an increasing demand on primary physician services, this provides a cost-effective means of providing services to the Medicaid population. Prior to the floor vote, the Indiana Chamber communicated its support to several senators who had not been privy to the original committee discussions. The bill will most likely be referred to the House Public Health Committee. House co-sponsors are: Rep. Ron Bacon (R-Chandler), Rep. Charlie Brown (D-Gary), Rep. Tim Brown (R-Crawfordsville) and Rep. Greg Porter (D-Indianapolis).

Bill to Expand Medicaid Passes Senate
Bill # and Title:
SB 551– Federal Health Care Reform
Authors: Sen. Patricia Miller (R-Indianapolis) and Sen. Karen Tallian (D-Portage)
Summary: Provides for negotiations between the Office of Medicaid Policy and Planning and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) concerning a block grant system related to Medicaid. Requires the office to apply to HHS to amend the state Medicaid plan to require Medicaid recipient cost sharing. Provides for implementation of the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act with respect to a health benefit exchange in Indiana. Specifies requirements for health plans issued through an exchange, including application of Indiana insurance law. Requires certification of navigators and registration of application organizations related to an exchange. Provides for dissolution of the Indiana comprehensive health insurance association. Requires the office to present specified information to the health finance commission before August 1, 2013.
Chamber Position: Support
Status: The bill passed the Senate 44-6.

Update/Chamber Action:
The Indiana Chamber previously testified on the importance of having the Indiana Department of Insurance as the regulatory body overseeing certification of health plans and health insurance products within the exchange, as well as the importance of registering and certifying the navigators and assisters that will be providing information for consumers on the exchange. The Chamber also supported the block grant funding concept and approach to Medicaid expansion using a Healthy Indiana Plan approach. 

Senator Tallian made another attempt on second reading to amend the bill, as she had attempted in the Senate Appropriations Committee, to obligate the state to the full Medicaid expansion and the 100% federal resources provided through 2016. The attempt was unsuccessful and the bill subsequently passed on third reading. The House sponsor is Rep. Tim Brown (R-Crawfordsville); co-sponsors are Rep. Charlie Brown (D-Gary), Rep. Matt Lehman (R-Berne) and Rep. Ed Clere (R-New Albany).

Since the Senate passage of SB 551, the Chamber has had a lengthy discussion with Rep. Ed Clere, chairman of the House Public Health Committee, about his expectations for the bill’s prospects in the House and what the Chamber would and would not be able to support in the bill. The Chamber will also be discussing the provisions of SB 551 with the Pence administration in the near future. 

Resource: Mike Ripley at (317) 264-6883 or email: