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Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Department of Justice Highlights Competitive Benefits of Telehealth Services

The Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division today submitted a statement describing how Michigan Senate Bill 753 (H-1) has the potential to enhance competition and promote greater use of telehealth services for the benefit of patients and consumers.  The department encourages lawmakers to consider the competitive effects of legislation while recognizing the critical importance of patient health and safety, noting that consumers benefit when it is possible to expand the ways available to them to access health care.  This is possible by enacting legislation that only maintains those restrictions on telehealth services that are necessary, for example, to address safety concerns, to improve the public health or to protect against fraud.

“Consumers benefit when innovative technologies further competition to deliver convenient and affordable quality health care,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Renata Hesse of the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division.  “Telehealth, when used consistent with patient health and safety, has the potential to improve not just access to certain types of health care, but also the cost of that care.  Better access and lower health care costs are especially important, as consumers may forego or delay care if it is inconvenient or costly to obtain.”  

The statement is in response to a request from Michigan State Senator Peter MacGregor for views on the possible competitive effects of SB 753.  SB 753 would add “telehealth” to the Michigan Public Health Code, provide for flexibility in how patients must provide consent for telehealth treatments and allow authorized health professionals to prescribe drugs that are non-controlled substances through telehealth services.  By addressing a broader range of telehealth services and by not imposing unnecessary burdens on telehealth providers and consumers, SB 753 can encourage competitive benefits through further entry and innovation in the market and greater access to services appropriately provided through telehealth.

Michigan Telehealth Letter

Press Release Number: 
Updated March 9, 2017