ERIC Testimony Regarding Texas House Bill 2697

March 27, 2017

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WRITTEN TESTIMONY ON BEHALF OF THE ERISA INDUSTRY COMMITTEE (ERIC) REGARDING HOUSE BILL 2697 BEFORE THE HOUSE COMMITTEE ON PUBLIC HEALTH

The ERISA Industry Committee (ERIC) represents the country’s largest employers, many with employees and retirees in Texas, with the goal of ensuring that telehealth benefits are accessible for millions of workers, retirees, and their families. ERIC speaks in one voice for our members on their benefit and compensation interests.

As plan sponsors, our members strive to provide the best health care possible to their employees, retirees, and families at affordable costs. At ERIC, we seek to enhance our members’ ability to provide high-quality, affordable health care. We recognize the significant opportunity provided by telehealth to modernize health care delivery, improve access to quality medical care, and provide that care at a more affordable cost.

ERIC members want their employees to have the care they need – when and how they need it. Telehealth provides many unique benefits that are appreciated by employees, retirees, and their families because it:

  • Increases access to medical care by allowing the patient-provider encounter to occur at a convenient location like home or work, and it prevents standard office hours from being a barrier to health care;
  • Provides access to care for rural and urban underserved populations, retirees, the elderly, disabled employees, and those with language barriers, chronic conditions, or transportation barriers that may otherwise not have access to care;
  • Minimizes the time spent attending a health care provider visit, making telehealth a great value to working parents, caregivers, and others struggling to balance work and family demands; and
  • Allows access to health care that is provided at an affordable, cost-effective rate.

ERIC is pleased that House Bill 2697 (H.B. 2697) considers the needs of patients by allowing for better access to care through the use of telehealth, while recognizing that providers must maintain a high standard of care. ERIC believes that the standards governing in-person visits to ensure patient safety and quality care should also apply, in the same manner, to telehealth visits. ERIC appreciates that H.B. 2697 permits the patient-provider relationship to be established through telehealth services because requiring an initial in-person visit creates a barrier to access to health care. ERIC urges the Committee to consider the needs of patients in Texas that stand to benefit from increased access to telemedicine services, to support H.B. 2697, and to advance this bill out of committee favorably.

Thank you for considering large employers’ interests as you consider telehealth legislation. ERIC welcomes the opportunity to serve as a resource to the Committee as it considers legislation and the importance of telehealth to large employers.

Sincerely,

Adam Greathouse
Associate, Health Policy