Bob Duff

Senate Majority Leader

Bob Duff

Standing Up For You!

July 28, 2020

Senate Democrats Pleased with Passage of Bill Concerning Telehealth Services

Today, the Senate Democratic Caucus is proud of the passage of the bill concerning telehealth services. Telehealth means the virtual mode of delivering health care or other health services via information and communication technologies to facilitate the diagnosis, consultation and treatment, education, care management and self-management of a patient’s physical and mental health. This latest change will provide new tools to physicians and other medical providers in the near future to continue interaction between a patient and telehealth provider and remote patient monitoring.

During the coronavirus crisis in the state, many changes were implemented to keep residents of Connecticut safe including the virtual practice of medicine. The Department of Public Health waived several requirements in order to provide audio and visual communication between providers and patients. Telehealth has played a huge role beginning in the middle of March following the start of the coronavirus pandemic. Providers have been able to perform under federal privacy requirements while providing reliable treatment through these platforms. Teleheath has been proven to be an essential tool during the coronavirus crisis and it will continue to be a tool for physicians and other providers to use in the future if needed. If telehealth wasn’t available through the duration of the pandemic, many physicians and health care professionals would have suffered greater financial hardship.

“Telehealth provides individuals with care and stability and that has been critical during this pandemic,” said Senate President Pro Tempore Martin Looney (D-New Haven). “This access to care benefits patients and health care professionals and I’m pleased that this legislation will expand telehealth services, ensuring that residents across Connecticut receive the services they need going forward during this difficult time.”

“Throughout this pandemic, we’ve needed to adjust our thinking and habits toward everyday tasks, and telehealth is one of those areas” said Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff (D-Norwalk). “Telehealth brings access to vital health care services and health care professionals to patients without having them compromise their health. Given the uncertainty of COVID-19, this legislation ensures that these services are expanded and available to individuals now and in the foreseeable future, providing assurance that patients are able to fully address their health care needs.”

This bill allows telehealth by audio-only, instead of requiring video. It will impact patients of Medicaid, Children’s health insurance program, and in-network providers. It will expand the types of providers who may provide services through telehealth including dentists, behavior analysts, genetic counselors, music therapists, and art therapists, all of which is currently permitted under EO. The bill also allows telehealth services by additional licensed professions; those being physician assistants, physical therapist assistants, and occupational therapy assistants, nurse midwives, athletic trainers.

Furthermore, the telehealth bill allows providers licensed in other states to provide telehealth services to Connecticut residents provided they have minimum professional liability insurance coverage. It requires a provider to determine whether a patient has health insurance coverage and whether such coverage includes telehealth services, before providing the service.