'Telehealth' Bill Bounces Back To House

Mar 7, 2016

A day after the House approved a bill aimed at expanding the use of "telehealth" in Florida, the Senate on Thursday scaled back the proposal.

The Senate took up the House bill (HB 7087) but revamped it with an amendment that largely focuses on creating a task force on telehealth or, as it is also known, "telemedicine." The revision, which sends the bill back to the House, took out controversial issues such as allowing out-of-state doctors to remotely provide care to Floridians.

"The House bill (before the changes) allows outside medical personnel to treat Floridians,'' said Senate Health Policy Chairman Aaron Bean, R-Fernandina Beach. "We still are focusing on a task force. We're still letting Florida-based providers use telemedicine."

The House and Senate during the past few years have failed to agree on legislation to address telehealth, which involves doctors and other providers using technology to treat patients remotely.

While some providers, including hospitals, already provide telehealth services, lawmakers have looked at trying to create a broader framework for its use.