Keicher says expansion of telehealth “improves quality of life” for Illinoisans

CHICAGO - In a statement released Thursday, State Rep. Jeff Keicher, R-Sycamore, said the new telehealth legislation signed into law Thursday “improves the quality of life,” for Illinoisans.

Keicher’s comments come following Gov. JB Pritzker’s signing into law House Bill 3308, legislation passed by the General Assembly this spring which increases access to telehealth services in communities across the state.

“Expanding access to telehealth services improves the quality of life for individuals of all ages living with a wide variety of conditions and contains health care costs by avoiding the need for more costly inpatient hospitalization,” Keicher said in a statement. “I was proud to work with colleagues on both sides of the aisle to support the benefits telehealth expansion affords both patients and medical providers.”

Keicher voted for HB 3308 and was co-sponsor of related legislation, HB 3025 which will allow health care providers to be reimbursed for providing epilepsy treatment services via telehealth once the bill is signed into law by the governor this summer, according to a news release from his office.

The new law builds upon ongoing efforts to ensure that all Illinoisans have uninterrupted access to telehealth, which they received from trusted health care providers throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

Telehealth is the use of technology to allow for long-distance patient and clinician contact, care, advice, reminders, education, intervention, and monitoring via virtual visits and other telecommunication tools.

The new law expands healthcare access for vulnerable populations, including mental health services; prevents a gap in coverage by permanently extending the payment parity requirement for mental health and substance use disorder services, while authorizing all other telehealth to be covered though 2027. It also enhances data collection and analytics on the part of health care providers to continue to evolve delivery of care.

To date, only a handful of states have enacted telehealth payment parity into law, further cementing Illinois as a national leader in expanding access to healthcare.

Kelsey Rettke

Kelsey Rettke

Kelsey Rettke is the editor of the Daily Chronicle, part of Shaw Media and DeKalb County's only daily newspaper devoted to local news, crime and courts, government, business, sports and community coverage. Kelsey also covers breaking news for Shaw Media Local News Network.