Residents in the more rural areas of California will have faster access to telehealth thanks to a Assembly Bill 809, signed by governor Jerry Brown. The motion is designed to streamline the telehealth process for patients and providers and make it easier for consultations to take place.
As California Healthline reports, the essential change this legislation provides regards patient consent practices. Effective immediately, all patients in need of telehealth solutions from their provider would be able to obtain consent faster, and would only have to do it once, rather than for each individual appointment. It would also relax the standards of what is considered unprofessional conduct when asking patients for verbal consent.
The North State Assemblyman behind the bill, Dan Logue, spoke in a press release on the long process towards developing this bill. Logue was also responsible for a previous bill, introduced three years ago, that similarly aimed to streamline use of telehealth.
"We worked with multiple stakeholders on this bill and those seeking treatment through telehealth will be better off for it," he said. "Telehealth benefits everyone but those who benefit most are in rural areas like my district. When the nearest specialist is hundreds of miles away, telehealth becomes about more than convenience; it is about saving lives."
In addition to reducing the amount of times consent needs to be obtained, the bill also allows care providers to obtain it at a place outside of the "originating site" of the request.
Initiatives like this bring possibilities with them but also open up the door to greater risk. For practices that need them, healthcare consulting firms are good sources of support and information.