Telehealth prescription bill moves forward in legislation

House Bill 17 (HB 17) was unanimously approved by the House Health and Human Services Committee. The bill would allow doctors to prescribe certain drugs and medications through telehealth communication appointments.

Originally filed on August 2, 2021, the bill would expand the ability of Florida physicians to prescribe controlled substances, including anabolic steroids and barbiturates, through online consultations, in an effort to facilitate access to medications for older people who may have difficulty achieving physical abilities. meet on their own. In the opposite chamber, a similarly structured Senate bill, SB 312, is also making its way into legislation, approaching the point of a floor hearing.

“HB 17 allows physicians to prescribe Schedule 3, 4 and 5 controlled substances via telehealth consultations. This bill passed unanimously in the House last year. We have seen during the pandemic through the governor’s executive order how well telehealth works,” said Representative Tom Fabricio during the committee meeting. “It saves time for patients and doctors, it increases the likelihood that patients will keep their appointments and maintain their treatment regimens.

As it stands, Florida law prohibits physicians from prescribing controlled substances through telehealth consultations, except as necessary for the treatment of patients with psychiatric disorders, hospitalized patients, and hospice patients. or in retirement homes.

“Since the beginning of the pandemic, telehealth has been a blessing for many of my patients. It allows me to help my patients in almost the same way as when I see them in person; assess their symptoms, provide the care they need,” the senior Mayo Clinic resident said. Dr. Kamal Shair. “Allowing doctors like me to be able to prescribe medicines via telecommunications would help facilitate access to life-saving medicines. In short, I urge you to pass this bill.

HB17 has received broad bipartisan support and looks likely to be signed into law in the current legislative session.

“Thank you Rep. Fabricio for finding the legislative unicorn,” said one audience speaker. “Take a complicated issue, a controversial issue, but find common ground that all parties seem to agree on. It will improve access, it will not compromise care, and we strongly support this good legislation.

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