Telehealth Expansion Clears First Round

Unicameral Information Office

Nebraskans would have greater access to telehealth under a bill advanced from general file March 9.

Legislative Bill 400, introduced by Sen. John Arch of La Vista, would allow individuals to receive audio-only telehealth for behavioral health services.

The bill also would allow an individual to receive telehealth services with verbal approval during a patient’s first telehealth visit. Under current law, Nebraskans must give written consent to receive telehealth services prior to those services being provided. LB 400 would require that written approval be received within 10 days of a patient giving verbal consent.

Arch said telehealth utilization has increased dramatically during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sen. Mark Kolterman of Seward said telehealth access will become even more critical as Nebraska expands broadband services into rural areas.

Lawmakers adopted an amendment that narrowed the definition of audio-only behavioral health services to individual services provided to established patients only. Arch said the change would ensure that group therapy was not included in the bill’s provisions.

LB 400 advanced to select file on a vote of 46-0.

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