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House, Senate bills to regulate telehealth if approved

WAFF's Jasmyn Cornell reporting
Published: Mar. 16, 2022 at 1:26 PM CDT
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WAFF) - The coronavirus pandemic has had a lasting impact on the healthcare industry. Many health care systems have ramped up their telemedicine offerings to reduce the flow of traffic and prevent the spread of the virus.

Some state lawmakers have introduced bills to regulate telehealth services, saying there are no guidelines for the practice in Alabama.

Both House Bill 423 and Senate Bill 272 allow the Alabama Board of Medical Examiners and the Medical Licensure Commission to adopt rules for using technology to deliver remote care. They also regulate the issuance of controlled substances.

Rep. Paul Lee of Dothan sponsored Bill 423. He tells our partners at the Times Daily that he wants to make sure telehealth options offer the same quality of care as in-person visits.

According to his bill, if a doctor sees a patient four or more times within a year, there must be an in-person visit.

Some medical providers oppose this requirement and say it should be up to doctors to decide when a patient should be seen in person.

Both bills are still pending, and lawmakers are addressing the proposed rules. House Bill 423 was approved in the House Health Committee and awaits a House vote.

Senate Bill 272, which is being sponsored by Sen. Dan Roberts of Mountain Brook, is awaiting a vote in that chamber.

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