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Rep. Carol McElwee (R-Caribou)
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For Immediate Release

Date: 11/08/13

Caribou Rep. McElwee's Telemedicine Bill for Seniors Moves Forward

Bill would create 40+ jobs, cover new health options for rural seniors

AUGUSTA - State Representative Carol McElwee (R-Caribou)'s bill to add telemedicine to the list of services covered under MaineCare, the state's Medicaid program, has been approved by legislative leadership for consideration in next year's session.

Telemedicine is the use of phones or video conferencing to allow patients to receive health care from home without a doctor's visit. Patients may apply monitoring devices so that health care professionals can remotely measure vital signs and monitor health conditions.

"This is especially useful to elderly people in rural areas who may be unable to drive on their own or who have trouble driving a long way in the winter to a routine check-up," said Rep. McElwee, who was recently appointed to the Council of State Governments' Health Committee, where she works with policymakers from around the country to share ideas for improving health care. "It would provide services more efficiently and it focuses MaineCare services on those who need them most."

At least one company has come forward proposing to provide telemedicine services to patients in rural Aroostook and Washington Counties. Virtual Managed Solutions, LLC, has said it hopes to create over 40 new, good-paying jobs in its health technology center in Caribou if the bill is passed.

"We're enthusiastic about the possibility of hiring more people in our Caribou location and I'd like to thank Rep. McElwee for introducing this bill," said C. B. Smith, CEO of Virtual Managed Solutions. "Our health care technology center is innovative, using current information technologies and health care technologies combined to create a proactive approach to a predictive condition."

"We must come up with new ways to meet the health challenges faced by our senior citizen neighbors," said Rep. McElwee. "If we can do that while creating new jobs for people in the County, I'd consider it a great success. Telemedicine coverage will help seniors stay healthy even if they lack easy access to a doctor. I will work hard next year to ensure that this bill gets passed because Mainers should have the most health care options possible."

Rep. Carol McElwee serves on the Maine Legislature's Health and Human Services Committee and is in her first term as a state lawmaker.

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David Sorensen
Maine House Republicans
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