The TaxWatch Research Blog

The TaxWatch Research Blog is a forum where our research staff can address topics and issues in a short format. Keep an eye on this space during Legislative Session for frequent posts making sense of the activity at the Capitol. 

Moving Telehealth Forward: The High Costs of Paying Later

This TaxWatch report, Moving Telehealth Forward: The High Costs of Paying Later, takes Florida’s telehealth discussion to a new level of detail and insight. Having examined the basic practice and benefits of telehealth in previous reports, TaxWatch now takes an in-depth look at: how Florida compares to other large states in hospital charges and Medicaid spending; the cost-savings being lost to Florida each year that telehealth is not adopted statewide; barriers to reimbursement and incentivization of telehealth; Florida telehealth provider needs in education and collaboration; and how telehealth can decrease reliance on federal funding while increasing the state’s self-sufficiency in addressing Florida’s health needs. 

Previously, in the March 2014 report, Critical Connections to Care, Florida TaxWatch explored the critical and growing need for telehealth to meet the health needs of Florida’s growing and diverse population. As an introduction to telehealth, Critical Connections discussed telehealth uses, Florida’s experience with telehealth, high-level reimbursement, economic benefits, and a variety of challenging telehealth issues requiring discussion to move policy forward. More than $1 billion savings in annual Florida health charges were estimated if telehealth were to be adopted statewide. 

In the November 2014 report, Time for Telehealth, Florida TaxWatch examined how Florida compared to key states in telehealth policy adoption, discussed telehealth case studies evidencing a high return-on-investment, and studied policy decision points under consideration by the Florida legislature. Statewide adoption of telehealth provides opportunities for Florida to become more competitive in business and health care. In furtherance of the telehealth discussion, Florida TaxWatch hosted the inaugural Telehealth Cornerstone Conference in November 2014 and will be hosting the 2015 Telehealth Cornerstone Conference in September. 

Telehealth benefits businesses, providers, and patients regardless of age or location. If adopted on a state level, the state budget would also benefit. Telehealth policy transcends political party lines and offers a healthcare and economic win across stakeholders. Each year that telehealth-friendly policy is not adopted statewide, Florida loses out on significant cost-savings and timely access to patient care. Given Florida’s rising healthcare costs and increasing health needs, the state cannot afford to wait. Pay now and invest in a statewide telehealth infrastructure that could save billions of taxpayer dollars and lead to a healthier Florida, or pay significantly more later, without the benefits of cost-savings and improved health. 

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