Just before the 112 th Congress ended, Rep. Mike Thompson introduced a bill that would expand coverage for telehealth services and encourage usage of the technology. First of all, the Telehealth Promotion Act of 2012 would redefine “telehealth” to cover remote treatment in any case in which the equivalent in-person treatment would be covered. Currently, Medicare and Medicaid only reimburse telehealth services provided in place of patient-physician interaction if the patient is located in specific locations, including rural health professional shortage areas. The bill would also make it easier for telehealth professionals to obtain licenses to practice via telecommunication in other states. The law would allow providers in federal health programs (Medicare, Medicaid, Children’s Health Insurance Program, TRICARE, federal employee health plans, and the U.S. Veterans Affairs Department) to provide telehealth services to patients nationwide as long as the provider is licensed in the location where he or she is physically located. So essentially, a psychiatrist who is licensed in Ohio could provide telehealth services to patients anywhere in the US, so long as she is physically located in the Buckeye State. The bill drew a strong endorsement from the American Telemedicine Association (ATA). In a press release, the ATA’s Chief Executive Officer, Jonathan Linkous, said the bill would remove arbitrary coverage restrictions to telemedicine and extend the benefits of telehealth services to nearly 75 million Americans. The bill contains other provisions that would extend the use of telehealth medicine in home healthcare, which includes incentivizing hospitals to use telemedicine to lower readmissions by offering them a share of the total cost savings. Physicians can check up on patients who were recently discharged from the hospital using video conferencing and remote monitoring software. Other parts of the bill expand telehealth use in the clinical setting. For example, providers would have a telemedicine service option for Mediciad patients with high-risk pregnancies. Providers would be able to use telehealth technology to conference in an off-campus specialist during an office visit. The bill would also allow Accountable Care Organizations to use telemedicine as a substitute for in-person care, thus making it easier for them to provide comprehensive care to their patient population. In an interview with MobiHealthNews, Linkous said telehealth has bipartisan support in Congress. However, he does not expect the bill will pass comprehensively. Rather, he predicts legislators will insert portions of the bill into other pieces of legislation throughout the year.