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‘Telehealth’ Plan Teed Up For Approval

Doctor speaks to patient on an online live chat
Nemours Children's Hospital- YouTube
The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

After years of failing to reach agreement, Florida lawmakers could be poised to pass legislation to establish a framework for “telehealth.” 

The Senate on Friday positioned for a vote the House’s telehealth bill (HB 23) after adding amendments by Senate Health Policy Chairwoman Gayle Harrell, R-Stuart.

Telehealth, which is also known as telemedicine, involves using the internet and other technology to provide services to patients remotely. Telehealth is not a type of health care service but rather is a mode to deliver services.

While many hospitals and other providers already use telehealth, lawmakers have tried to put together a regulatory framework that addresses issues such as insurance and payments.

“We are going to provide the quality, cost, access and delivery of health care in Florida in the most efficient way using the 21st Century technology,” Harrell said, explaining the need for the bill. “We really have been a little behind the curve here in Florida, in really expanding the use of something that is so, so important.”

As amended, the House bill would allow licensed out-of-state health care providers who register with the state to offer telehealth to Florida residents.

But the bill contains exceptions. For example, health-care providers who are responding to emergency medical conditions wouldn’t be required to register.