The Senate passed the Delaware Telehealth Access Preservative and Modernization Act (TAPMA) last week 20-0, with Darius Brown absent for obvious reasons. House Bill 160 ensures that Delawareans will continue to have access to telehealth services, even after the COVID-19 pandemic ends.
The bill permanently codifies key provisions of emergency legislation enacted last summer that expanded the availability of telehealth services for Delawareans in response to the pandemic. Those provisions are set to expire on July 1.
According to the Delaware Health Information Network, demand for telehealth services exploded in the spring and summer of last year. The number of telehealth-related insurance claims jumped from several hundred per month statewide in recent years to a peak of more than 40,000 claims per month in April and May of 2020.
Notably, House Bill 160 would permanently change the rules that required every patient to have at least one in-person appointment with a health provider before telehealth services could be used, provisions which were temporarily suspended in the emergency bill. HB 160 also allows patients who do not have access to an internet connection to receive telehealth services by phone, whereas previous rules required all telehealth visits to be conducted via video.
Additionally, HB 160 would bring Delaware into the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact, which includes 29 states and creates a voluntary, expedited pathway to state licensure for physicians who want to practice medicine in multiple states. An eligible physician could qualify to practice medicine in multiple states by completing one application within the compact, and receipt of separate licenses from each state in which the physician intends to practice.
Senator Sarah McBride: “Throughout the pandemic, Delawareans across our state have seen the benefits of telehealth. The Telehealth Access Preservation and Modernization Act – sponsored by Rep. David Bentz and myself – protects and permanently expands access to care as we enter this post-COVID world.”
|House Bill 160 Sponsors||Yes Votes||No Votes|
|Bentz, Briggs King, Heffernan, Baumbach, Brady, Bush, Griffith, Morrison, Osienski, Shupe, M.Smith, Spiegelman, K.Williams||House Passed 41-0. Baumbach, Bennett, Bentz, Bolden, Brady, Bush, Carson, Chukwuocha, Cooke, Dorsey Walker, Griffith Heffernan K.Johnson K.Williams Kowalko Lambert Longhurst Lynn Matthews Minor-Brown Mitchell Morrison Osienski S.Moore Schwartzkopf Wilson-Anton Briggs King Bush Collins D.Short Dukes Gray Hensley M.Smith Morris Postles Ramone Shupe Smyk Spiegelman Vanderwende Yearick||None|
|S.McBride, Brown, Townsend, Gay, Hansen, Lopez, Pettyjohn, Poore, Sokola, Walsh||Senate Passed 20-0-1. Ennis Gay Hansen Lockman Mantzavinos Paradee Pinkney Poore S.McBride Sokola Sturgeon Townsend Walsh Bonini Hocker Lawson Lopez Pettyjohn Richardson Wilson||Brown (Absent)|
|Current Status —||Sent to Governor Carney for his signature.|
Not a fan of telehealth, it amounts to a very expensive phone call.