Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
WUSF Logo

X
Health News Florida

Telehealth bill expanding doctor's prescribing powers heads to governor

Dr. Gita Agarwal of Mary's Center conducts a telemedicine conference with Dennis Dolman from his mother's house in Washington, D.C.
Dr. Gita Agarwal of Mary's Center conducts a telemedicine conference with Dennis Dolman from his mother's house in Washington, D.C.

The bill, approved by the Senate after changes by the House, would ease restrictions on doctors prescribing controlled substances through telehealth.

The Senate on Friday unanimously approved a measure that would expand the ability of doctors to prescribe controlled substances through telehealth.

Senators agreed to changes made by the House, with the bill (SB 312) now ready to go to Gov. Ron DeSantis.

Telehealth, also known as telemedicine, has grown in popularity during the COVID-19 pandemic, as it has allowed patients to receive treatment remotely.

The bill would ease restrictions on doctors prescribing controlled substances through telehealth, though they would continue to be barred from prescribing what are known as Schedule I and Schedule II controlled substances, which include highly addictive drugs such as morphine, according to a Senate analysis.

The House made a change to the bill that eliminated a proposal to allow the use of audio-only technology for telehealth. Some senators criticized the change Friday, saying it could prevent seniors from receiving telehealth by phone.

“This is very, very unfortunate,” Sen. Gayle Harrell, R-Stuart, said.