(The Center Square) – The West Virginia Senate passed an amended version of House legislation to expand telemedicine within the state and the bill will now head back to the House for final approval.
The Senate substitute version of House Bill 2024, sponsored by House Speaker Roger Hanshaw, R-Clay, would allow out-of-state medical professionals to offer telehealth services to West Virginians. The House version passed its chamber 98-0 with two members not voting and the Senate version passed its chamber 34-0 with all members voting.
Both versions would require the medical professional to be licensed and in good standing with the state in which he or she resides and not be under investigation or administrative complaint. They would also require the medical professional to register with the appropriate West Virginia board as an interstate telehealth practitioner. Registration could be subject to a fee that does not exceed the fee cost for a license.
The House version of the bill would classify telehealth service as any service that uses telecommunications technology. The Senate substitute version of the bill would also include audio-only telephone calls.
Neither bill would allow a person with telehealth registration to practice from a physical location in West Virginia unless that person has an appropriate license to do so.
If the House approves the changes, it will head to Gov. Jim Justice for his signature, veto or amendments.
There have been more calls for telehealth expansion during the COVID-19 pandemic as some people prefer not to visit a physical location.