NAHC Meets with Congressional Telehealth Champion, Representative Mike Thompson
May 15, 2013 07:07 AM
Rich Brennan, NAHC’s Vice President for Technology Policy, recently met with Congressman Mike Thompson (D-CA) to discuss telehealth legislation. Thompson is an influential member of the House Ways and Means Committee, and is recognized both in Congress and throughout his district as a moderate Democrat who has built a solid reputation for bipartisan problem-solving.
Thompson represents California's 5th Congressional District, which includes all of Napa and parts of Contra Costa, Lake, Solano and Sonoma Counties. He was first elected to the House of Representatives in 1998. Thompson is also a small vineyard owner and was the maintenance supervisor for the Beringer Winery. He has taught Public Administration and State Government at San Francisco State University and California State University, Chico. He is married to Janet Thompson, a family nurse practitioner that has worked in home health care.
The meeting with Congressman Thompson allowed NAHC to brief him on a range of issues that are of importance to the home health and hospice community - and also to inform him of pending legislation that would be of interest to both him and his constituents. Since Thompson is a proponent of telehealth services – having introduced the Telehealth Promotion Act and Telehealth Enhancement Act in previous Congresses – NAHC is seeking his support of the Fostering Independence Though Technology (FITT) Act of 2013, which has been introduced in the Senate - S. 596 – by Senators Thune (R-SD) and Klobuchar (D-MN). NAHC anticipates that Congressman Greg Walden (R-OR) will soon introduce a House version of the bill.
Following the meeting with Congressman Thompson, representatives from NAHC also met with Carla McGarvey, Thompson’s senior health policy advisor, to explain the importance of establishing a remote patient monitoring program for home health care providers.
Congressman Thompson’s support for the FITT Act would be important not only because of his leadership on the expansion of telehealth reimbursement in Medicare, but also because of his reputation as a respected leader on the Ways and Means Committee.
The meeting with Thompson and his staff is part of a broader effort by NAHC’s legislative affairs department to gain support of legislation that is developed by home care providers that would improve the quality of care, reduce hospital readmissions, and enable their patients to remain in their homes.
To find out more about the FITT Act, and urge your elected officials to support it, please visit NAHC's Legislative Action Network.