Delawareans could continue to have access to tele-medicine services even after the COVID-19 pandemic under a bill filed in the State House of Representatives.
The Telehealth Access Preservation and Modernization Act would codify several provisions of emergency legislation that was enacted last year. Those provisions are set to expire July1st.
Representative David Bentz, D-Newark area said insurance claims related to tele-medicine services peaked at more than 40,000 a month last April and May, after typically numbering several hundred a month.
“Throughout the pandemic, telemedicine has been critical to the delivery of health care services for thousands of Delawareans — from routine check-ups to specialist care for people with chronic conditions,” Bentz said. The chair of the House Health & Human Development Committee added “by necessity, we’ve learned that telehealth services are an extremely efficient way to deliver health care and make it more convenient and accessible for people from all walks of life. We need to make sure those services remain in place going forward.”
If the bill becomes law, there would be a permanent change to rules that required every patient to have at least one in-person appointment with a health provider before telehealth services could be available. Those provisions were suspended in the emergency legislation. Patients who do not have access to an internet connection would be able to receive telehealth services by phone, elminniating a previous rule that required video.