Saturday, January 26, 2008

State Legislation Under Consideration

So far in 2008, a number of bills and acts are under consideration in some of the state legislatures concerning a variety of topics that relate to telemedicine, electronic medical record systems, research, prescriptions, task forces, commissions, and broadband adoption.

The bill (HB 16) was introduced in the Utah House to allow telemedicine to be used for certified services to be reimbursed under the State Medicaid plan. The Colorado legislature is also considering legislation to allow for telemedicine mental healthcare services under the Medicaid program.

The West Virginia legislature is considering (HB 3225) that would appoint a Commission to develop and field test a comprehensive integrated statewide standardized electronic medical record access system to be compatible with federal EMR software. The Commission will need to obtain bids from qualified businesses to field test the proposed EMR system.

The state legislature in West Virginia is studying (HB 2177) to provide tax credits to medical providers in an amount equal to their investment in EMR technology. Another bill (SB 74) introduced in the state Senate would also provide specific tax credits but only to certain medical providers.

The state of Tennessee is considering (SB 3122) to allow health centers with registered nurses or certified pharmacy technicians to dispense prescription drugs without the direct on premises supervision of a pharmacist. This bill would allow a pharmacist to provide the needed supervision by being available via telemedicine. When providing this distance supervision, the pharmacist would have to be on duty at an appropriate pharmacy facility.

The state of Oklahoma is considering (HB 3368) to create the Oklahoma Rural Health Policy and Research Center at the Oklahoma State University College of Osteopathic Medicine. This bill would improve rural healthcare delivery in the state by coordinating rural medical education, telemedicine, research, and healthcare policy.

The state of Oklahoma is also considering (HB 2788) to create the KidSafe Child Abuse Task Force. The Task Force would have nine members and one member would be the Provost of the University of Oklahoma Health Science Center or a designee from the telemedicine department.

The bill (AB 1391) introduced in New Jersey’s legislature would establish the New Jersey Health Information Technology Commission in the Department of Health and Senior Services. The Commission would collaborate with the Office for e-HIT in the Department of Banking and Insurance to educate the public. Information would be distributed on the value of health IT, how to improve patient care, the process on developing healthcare policymaking, and data would be provided on clinical research, healthcare financing, and quality improvements. The Commission would also study the need to promote national standards for an interoperable system.

Hawaii is looking at (SR 15 and SCR 34) that would create the Maui Health Initiative Task Force to encourage the development and operation of electronic medical records systems to be interoperable with Hawaii’s regional health information organization.

In Florida, the bill (HB 637) would expand access to a patient’s medical records to facilitate the electronic exchange of data between certain healthcare facilities, practitioners, and providers, and attending physicians. The proposed legislation would create the “Florida eHealth Initiative Act” and establish the Electronic Medical Records System Adoption Loan Program.

Several pieces of legislation are under discussion in the New York that would authorize an electronic medical records system when dispensing certain controlled substances and would authorize physicians with patients receiving Medicaid to dispense prescriptions through such systems.

The Kansas legislature is considering several bills (HB 2645) to establish a Broadband Technology and Application Advisory Council. The Council members would be both technology providers and users with knowledge of emerging technologies and innovative applications.

The New Mexico legislative body is considering both (HB 37 and SB 305) to create the Electronic Medical Records Act that would authorize the use of electronic medical records, and the Act would provide for individual rights concerning the disclosure of information, and protecting the privacy of the records.