The Michigan House of Representatives has passed bipartisan legislation to improve access to healthcare through telemedicine.

House Bills 5412 through 5416 allow patients to consult with a doctor from their home instead of meeting a healthcare provider in person and in specific locations. This means families have no need to arrange for child care or take time off work to see a doctor. It also provides easy access to health care providers for patients with transportation issues. Services may also be available both day and night. The bills also allow doctors to update patients on test results in the form of video and images. These changes would ensure patients have easier access to their doctors and that doctors have time to thoroughly analyze data and test results before advising them.

Current Michigan laws also require Medicaid patients to travel to a secondary location like a county mental health clinic, hospital, or physician’s office to participate in a telemedicine visit. The legislation allows Medicaid to pay for telemedicine visits when a patient is at home, work or school. And it removes barriers for those who don’t have health insurance, as telemedicine services are a fraction of the cost of in-office visits.

The bills now head to the state Senate for consideration.