Telemedicine legislation authored by Rep. Price heads to Abbott's desk

The major telemedicine and telehealth bill of the legislative session, House Bill 4 authored by Representative Four Price, has finally passed both legislative chambers. The enrolled bill has been sent to Governor Abbott for his consideration. 

Governor Abbott during his State of the State Address in February mentioned the vital role that telemedicine played during the COVID-19 Pandemic. The Governor noted that telemedicine proved to be very helpful in allowing easier patient access to physicians and other healthcare providers and that Texas "should seize the opportunity this session to permanently expand telemedicine so that every Texan in every region of the state can benefit."

House Bill 4 received tremendous public support as it was heard in the House and Senate public health committees, including favorable testimony from many healthcare professionals and organizations. The bill was broadly supported in the House and the Senate with the final House vote being 147-0. 

The language of the legislation seeks to make permanent the state's emergency waivers that have been temporarily granted during the pandemic for the delivery of certain established adult and child healthcare programs by healthcare providers. 

Additionally, House Bill 4 addresses gaps related to the use of technology in delivering services and information to many Texas patients.

Telemedicine is a subject that Representative Price and his staff have worked on for several legislative sessions and has gained much in popularity with patients and physicians and other healthcare professionals, especially since the onset of COVID-19.

"Healthcare matters regardless of where one resides in Texas. Improving the health outcomes of Texans is always one of my top legislative priorities. It is a privilege to continue to work on practical solutions to better the health of Texas patients," stated Representative Price.

The temporarily granted state waivers allow medical services to be provided by existing Texas Health and Human Services Commission programs to patients via telemedicine/telehealth. These waivers proved beneficial to patients in the delivery of timely healthcare and have also shown to be a cost effective tool in the delivery of healthcare. 

This leveraging of technology has the potential of continuing to improve patient outcomes by having the patient seen and receiving treatment in a more timely manner. Also, the utilization of telemedicine provides greater access to medical specialists statewide. 

The waivers are set to soon expire. House Bill 4 seeks to make the waivers permanent.

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