The Montana House Human Services Committee, upon the urging of ATDA and other stakeholders, voted to “table” (i.e. dismiss) House Bill 343 last week. This legislation would have significantly limited access to care and would have been detrimental to the practice of teledentistry in the state. The bill included:
- An unconstitutional residency requirement which forbid a provider from practicing in Montana – regardless of licensure – unless they lived in the state;
- A requirement for the patient to have insurance (i.e. no self-pay option);
- HIPAA violations by requiring the dissemination of medical records regardless of patient consent;
- Discriminatory provisions against providers who do not have a physical practice location;
- Separate standards of care depending on delivery modality; and,
- A restrictive method to establish a provider-patient relationship.
The ATDA submitted written testimony and appeared before the committee to deliver remarks before the committee ultimately defeated the bill. Dr. Marc Ackerman, the Executive Director of the ATDA, informed the committee that “the telehealth restrictions imposed by HB 343 are, on their face, anti-competitive and without valid clinical basis” and “that any telehealth technology – whether synchronous or asynchronous – should be able to be used to establish a relationship as long as it upholds the standard of care.” As these unnecessarily restrictive and clinically unsubstantiated bills are filed in state Capitols across the country, the ATDA will continue to advocate on behalf of our members to ensure that any proposed public policy is evidence-based, patient-centered, and technology-neutral.