On Thursday, ERIC submitted comments to the North Dakota House Human Services Committee on Senate Bill 2094, which relates to telemedicine. We previously weighed in on the Senate side in January to remove language that would have required most telemedicine visits to be performed using videoconferencing technology (audio with store-and-forward would not be permitted for the initial telemedicine visit). We were successful in the Senate Committee with an amendment that would allow either videoconferencing or store-and-forward technology for telemedicine visits, and that version passed out of the Senate unanimously.
It is now with the House, and there is concern that the State Medical Board will attempt to amend the bill to return it to its original, restrictive form. ERIC’s model telehealth legislation encourages telemedicine policy to be technology-neutral because restrictive requirements create a barrier to access, especially in rural areas where residents may not have consistent access to a fast, reliable internet connection capable of two-way audio-video communication. In our letter, we encouraged the House Committee to pass the bill in its current form and alerted them that we would oppose an amendment that changes the bill’s technology-neutral language.
The House Committee is scheduled to hold a hearing on Monday, March 25, and we will keep you apprised of the results of that hearing. Please let me know if you have any questions in the meantime.
Article by Adam Greathouse, Health Care Policy Senior Associate