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Patton Supports, House Passes Telemedicine Expansion Act

June 10, 2020
Thomas F. Patton News

State Rep. Tom Patton (R-Strongsville) today supported House Bill 679, the Telemedicine Expansion Act, which passed out of the Ohio House. The legislation enables healthcare providers to fully utilize modern telecommunications systems to care for patients both in and outside Ohio. Patton is also a cosponsor of the bill.

Patton has a history of working to advance telemedicine throughout the state. He has previously introduced House Bill 580 that requires health plan issuers to cover telemedicine services during a state of emergency. He also supported last year’s budget that included telemedicine health benefit plan coverage for individuals. Additionally, during the 132nd General Assembly, Patton sponsored House Bill 546, which prohibits health benefit plans from treating telemedicine differently from in-person health care services because they are provided as telemedicine services. The bill provides parity in coverage for these services.

“Telemedicine has always been important to my work here in the Ohio House,” said Patton. “Now more than ever due to the pandemic, these bills are crucial in helping Ohioans as we continue to fight this health crisis.”

For the Telemedicine Expansion Act, the bill will do the following:

  • Expand the list of providers allowing telehealth services to include specialties such as psychologists, physical therapists, dietitians, social workers, audiologists, speech-language pathologists, and many licensed counselors;
  • Require providers offer secure video technologies and take steps to protect username and password information, as well as electronic communications between the provider and the patient; and
  • Set procedures for reimbursing providers and ensures patients who elect to use telehealth services will see no changes in their out-of-pocket expenses.

The legislation also clarifies that any additional fees or costs incurred by providers offering telehealth services must be negotiated solely between the provider and the health plan.

“Expanding on telemedicine is truly important as it will allow patients to get faster access to care which hopefully helps in improving public health while lowering healthcare costs for Ohioans,” said Patton.

The Telemedicine Expansion Act now heads to the Senate for further consideration.