Last Friday, West Virginia House Bill 2509 successfully passed through both houses of the State’s legislature and now awaits the Governor’s signature. HB 2509 provides guidelines for physicians’ use of telemedicine services, and most notably permits the patient-provider relationship to be established using telemedicine rather than requiring an initial in-person meeting. Unfortunately, the bill is not ‘technology-neutral’ and only allows interactive audio-visual communication or ‘store and forward’ technology, not audio-only or text-based communication. In a state with many rural areas, that requirement may prevent some communities from benefiting from telemedicine.
The other West Virginia bill related to telemedicine with which we have been engaged is House Bill 2460. This bill requires pay parity for telemedicine services, which eliminates one of the benefits of telemedicine: lower costs. HB 2460 has not seen much movement recently; it has been sitting with the House Health and Human Resources Committee since late February. However, if it gains any traction, we will pursue opportunities to weigh-in with the Legislature.
ERIC successfully supported HB 2509 and opposed HB 2460 by weighing in through the media. You can see the op-ed I had published in the Charleston Gazette-Mail here.
Article by Adam Greathouse, Health Care Policy Associate