Clinton Picks Telemedicine Champion as Running Mate, Senator Tim Kaine

Telehealth advocates had good reason to cheer when Hillary Clinton named her running mate recently. Clinton’s choice for vice president, Virginia Senator Tim Kaine, has long been a strong believer in telehealth and its ability to improve access to healthcare.

In July, Kaine and his fellow Virginia Senator, Mark Warner, announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will give more than $700,000 to enhance telehealth services in Virginia. The funding will benefit three Distance Learning and Telemedicine (DLT) projects designed to connect rural communities with healthcare experts and clinicians in other parts of the state.

Prior to his election to the U.S. Senate, Tim Kaine served as Governor of Virginia from 2006 to 2010. During that time, he successfully pushed through state legislation creating reimbursement parity for telemedicine. Signed into law by his successor in 2010, the legislation made Virginia only the 10th state to require insurers to reimburse treating providers for the diagnosis, consultation, or treatment of the insured via telemedicine on the same basis as face-to-face service provision.

As Governor, Kaine also helped develop and strengthen the University of Virginia’s Center for Telehealth, now known as the Karen S. Rheuban Center for Telehealth, in recognition of CTeL Board member Dr. Reuban. Then-governor Kaine built up the Center using state funds as well as money from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the Health Resources and Services Administration.  The Center, established in 1994, has become a national model for the telehealth industry; to date it has supported more than 50,000 patient-clinician telemedicine encounters across more than 60 medical subspecialties.

Several of then-Governor Kaine’s cabinet members later served in the Obama Administration at the senior level. Aneesh Chopra, Kaine’s Secretary of Technology and keynote speaker at the last CTeL Summit, became the first Chief Technology Officer of the United States. Marilyn Tavenner, Kaine’s Secretary of Health and Human Resources, went on to head the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services from 2011 to 2015 under President Obama.

In addition to his long track record supporting healthcare innovation and modernization, including through the use of telehealth, Tim Kaine has been a strong supporter of both the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and value-based care.

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