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Palm Coast Wednesday, Mar. 24, 2021 2 weeks ago

Telehealth measures get green light from state committees

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One bill would expand the definition of telehealth to include audio-only calls, the other would expand a list of Medicaid-optional services.

A Senate health panel on March 17 moved forward with a pair of bills that could help expand the use of telehealth. One proposal (SB 864), sponsored by Sen. Jason Brodeur, R-Sanford, would expand the definition of telehealth to include audio-only telephone calls, which are now excluded from a definition in state law and regulatory rules.

Telehealth generally involves health-care providers using technology, such as the internet, to treat patients remotely and has increased in use during the COVID-19 pandemic. The bill, which was approved by the Senate Health Policy Committee in a unanimous vote, also would provide an exemption from registration requirements for out-of-state telehealth providers. That exemption would apply if the services they are providing come in consultation with Florida-licensed professionals who have authority over the diagnosis and care of the patients.

The other bill (SB 852), also sponsored by Brodeur, would expand a list of Medicaid-optional services that are covered to include remote patient monitoring services and remote evaluation of recorded video and images. It also passed the committee in a unanimous vote.

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