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telemedicine reimbursement approved

Final Victory for Telemedicine Reimbursement
Congress Overrides Presidential Veto on H.R. 6331

Telemedicine achieved final victory in its quest to add new originating sites for
Medicarereimbursement on July 16 when Congress overrode President Bush’s veto of H.R. 6331.
Under this new law, as of January 1, 2009, skilled nursing facilities, in-hospital dialysis centers and
community mental health centers will be originating sites for Medicare reimbursement.

H.R. 6331, a large Medicare bill that addresses many issues including averting scheduled cuts in physician
fees, has been highly controversial due disagreements over spending cuts necessary to offset new
expenditures in the legislation. The bill originally passed the House on June 24 by a vote of 355 to 59 and
passed the Senate on July 9 by a vote of 69 to 30. On July 15, President Bush vetoed the bill. Later that
day Congress overrode the veto making the bill law. The House vote was 383 to 41, and the Senate vote
was 70 to 26.

NEXT STEPS: The law goes into effect January 1, 2009, but the Center for Medicare and Medicaid
Services (CMS) needs to issue regulations detailing how it will be implemented. ATA will work with
CMS as they develop these regulations, and will keep the membership informed as this process

ATA would again like to thank the many people who contributed to this success. ATA is extremely
grateful to our champions in Congress including Sen. Kent Conrad, ND; Sen. Max Baucus, MT; Sen.
Charles Grassley, IA; Sen. Debbie Stabenow, MI; Sen. John Thune, SD; Rep. Mike Thompson, CA; Rep.
Bart Stupak, MI; Rep. Kenny Hulshof, MO; and Rep. Earl Pomeroy, ND.

ATA also thanks those in the telemedicine community who worked so hard to get us this far. ATA is
grateful to all the members who responded to the ATA Action Alerts. Many ATA members worked hard
to get their senators and representatives to support this legislation, and ATA is grateful to those who made
individual efforts. In addition, many ATA members signed letters at the annual meeting in Seattle, and
many people also made Capitol Hill visits as part of the Telehealth Leadership Conference and on their
own. All these efforts contributed to this success.

ATA is grateful to our longstanding friend and ally, Bob Waters and the Center for Telehealth and e-
Health Law.

ATA is also grateful to other organizations who have worked to advance this legislation including the
National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare and their representative, Al Guida, who has
worked so hard on the CMHC provision; the American Health Care Association; the National Association
for the Support of Long Term Care; the American Health Information Management Association; the
Center for Aging Services Technologies; the National Center for Assisted Living.


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