Matt Lesser

State Senator

Matt Lesser

Deputy Majority Leader

Your Independent Voice

May 6, 2021

State Senator Matt Lesser Leads Debate and Passage of Legislation Extending Telehealth Services for Connecticut Residents

Today, State Senator Matt Lesser (D-Middletown) led debate during the Senate Session on legislation that will extend telehealth services in Connecticut for another two years. The legislation passed with unanimous bipartisan support. This extension allows health care providers and patients to continue using a vital tool for Connecticut residents seeking health services during the COVID-19 pandemic. The bill approved in a bipartisan vote in both the state Senate and state House of Representatives now heads to the governor’s desk to be signed into law.

“The pandemic has changed the delivery of healthcare in a meaningful way and Connecticut residents have come to rely on telehealth over the past year,” said Sen. Lesser. “I am glad we could get this legislation quickly to the Governor’s desk. From the start, I recognized that extending telehealth is essential legislation for healthcare providers and patients ensuring the residents get access to the care they need safely and conveniently.”

Under House Bill 5596, “An Concerning Telehealth,” telehealth services temporarily expanded by a bill led by Democrats last summer would be extended until June 30, 2023.

These services extended include:

  • Expanded types of providers and licensed professions that can provide telehealth services including: dentists, behavior analysts, music therapists, art therapists, physician assistants, physical therapist assistants, and occupational therapy assistants
  • Allow telehealth by audio-only without requiring video
  • Licensed providers in other states allowed to provide telehealth services to Connecticut residents as long as they have minimum professional liability insurance coverage

Additionally, a provider has to determine if the patient has health insurance coverage. If yes, then has to find out if the coverage includes telehealth prior to offering health services by that means.

Also, physicians and advanced practice registered nurses may use telehealth services to issue a written certification to qualifying patients for medical marijuana.

Telehealth refers to the virtual method of providers delivering health care and other health services to patients through communication and information technologies. Telehealth has helped facilitate the providing of numerous health care needs including, but not limited to: diagnosis, consultation and treatment, and self-management of a patient’s mental and physical health.

This virtual practicing of medicine continues to be a critical tool in connecting state residents with health care and related services during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Telehealth has enabled people to be able to meet with their providers from the safety and comfort of their home, while secure in the knowledge their medical privacy remains upheld due to federal privacy requirements when receiving treatment through audio and visual communication platforms. In addition, the remote interaction works to lower the spread of COVID-19 by removing the need for close physical interaction between the patient and provider.