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Strike-all amendment awaits House telehealth bill

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A strike-everything amendment awaits the House telehealth bill in the House Health Quality Subcommittee on Thursday.

The  amendment, offered by bill sponsor state Rep. Travis Cummings, does not make the bill identical to the Senate measure, CS/SB 478. But the amendment does address a new issue in the telehealth debate: regulation of telehealth products. The House strike-all amendment would make clear that telehealth products are not “discount medical plans.”

The strike-everything amendment to the House bill does not address telehealth and eye care. The Senate bill specifically precludes the use of telehealth to prescribe lenses, spectacles, eyeglasses,  contact lenses or other optical devices. While there was an amendment to the House bill addressing that issue, it was withdrawn before the meeting.

A number of legislators have identified telehealth as a priority for the Legislature in the 2015 session. The issue last year got bogged down when the insurance industry and medical community could not agree on what should be included in the bill and which professions should be authorized to use telehealth.

Another issue the groups couldn’t agree on was whether there should be parity in reimbursements for telehealth  and traditional in-person health care. To date, reimbursement parity hasn’t been raised this session.

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