House Bill 179 — Interstate telehealth

House Bill 179 — Interstate telehealth

by
Parrish Miller
February 19, 2021

Bill Description: House Bill 179 allows a medical provider who is not licensed in Idaho to provide telehealth services to an Idaho resident or person located in Idaho, under very strict regulations.

Rating: 0

Does it increase barriers to entry into the market? Examples include occupational licensure, the minimum wage, and restrictions on home businesses. Conversely, does it remove barriers to entry into the market?

House Bill 179 creates Section 54-5714, Idaho Code, which allows, under very strict regulations, a medical provider who is not licensed in Idaho to provide telehealth services to an Idaho resident or person located in Idaho.

To the extent that this allows greater market access to Idahoans seeking telehealth services and greater freedom for out-of-state providers of these services, it is a positive addition to Idaho code. 

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Unfortunately, this new section is filled with mandates, regulations, and threats that unnecessarily burden providers and may discourage them from participating in the market to such a degree that Idahoans will not receive the very access this bill exists to provide. Here are some of the mandates it would impose on out-of-state providers:

  • Hold current, valid, and unrestricted licensure from an applicable health care licensing authority in a state, district, or territory of the United States that has substantially similar requirements for licensure as the corresponding Idaho licensing authority.
  • Not be subject to any past or pending disciplinary proceedings, excluding any action related to nonpayment of fees related to a license.
  • Act in full compliance with all applicable laws, rules, and regulations, including this chapter and applicable laws and rules of the applicable Idaho licensing authority.
  • Comply with existing Idaho requirements regarding the maintenance of liability insurance.
  • Consent to Idaho jurisdiction.
  • If applicable, hold a controlled substance license or permit that has never been suspended or revoked by a state, district, or territory of the United States or the United States Drug Enforcement Administration.
  • Obtain an Idaho credential to provide telehealth services.

The bill also contains a "catch all" subsection to allow for the state and local governments to impose additional rules. 

"Any licensing authority responsible for issuing licenses to provide health care services in this state may promulgate rules if necessary to implement this section."

Finally, multiple subsections in the bill threaten out-of-state providers who might not strictly adhere to every rule and regulation issued by the state. 

"A provider who fails to comply with applicable Idaho laws, rules, and regulations shall be subject to investigation and disciplinary action by an applicable Idaho licensing authority. Disciplinary action by an Idaho licensing authority may include but is not limited to revoking the provider's Idaho practice privileges and referring the matter to licensing authorities in any states where the provider possesses licensure."

"If a licensing authority responsible for issuing a credential under this section finds that grounds for discipline against a provider exist, such licensing authority may impose upon the practice privileges of the credential holder any of the penalties that such licensing authority is authorized to impose pursuant to Idaho Code."

The underlying idea of House Bill 179 is a good one, but the bill largely negates its efforts to increase market access by imposing onerous regulations. 

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