OLYMPIA…Four bills that would expand telemedicine in Washington passed in the Washington State Senate and now head to the House of Representatives for consideration.
Sponsored by Sen. Randi Becker, R-Olympia, the bills are part of her ongoing effort to put the patient first by improving access to telemedicine health-care. Becker is especially proud of Senate Bill 5389. It would provide training for school staff to recognize the signs of kids at risk of committing violence or suicide and would provide telemedicine stations where students can receive mental health-care on the spot.
“Rural schools, in particular, don’t have a lot of access to mental health providers in their communities. And it can be difficult for teenagers and their families to follow up outside of school. My bill allows a better path toward care for many kids who might otherwise struggle with access,” said Becker.
“In order for the program to work, however, we need to train teachers, administrators and staff to better identify the signs of students who might pose a threat to themselves or others. My bill provides that training hand-in-hand with the telemedicine technology.”
Becker’s other telemedicine bills that passed the Senate are as follows:
Senate Bill 5385: Requires that physicians be paid at the same rate for telemedicine services as if they had provided the services in person.
Senate Bill 5386: Provides additional telemedicine training for care providers.
Senate Bill 5387: Allows facilities providing telemedicine services to rely on a distant facility’s granting of credentials and privileges to physicians providing care.
“I’m so pleased that my telemedicine bills were well received by my colleagues in the Senate. The use of telemedicine is growing and I will continue to find ways to help that along because it’s critical that underserved populations – particularly in rural areas – get better access to health care services,” said Becker.