Bills addressing rural health, telemedicine, and medical education pass the House

2018-06-12 | June 11, 2018

Last night, the North Carolina House of Representatives passed the following bills. They will now go to the Senate for consideration.

HB 967: TELEMEDICINE POLICY

An act to direct DHHS to study and report recommendations for various telemedicine standards.

Final Vote: 113-0

Note: This bill started as a recommendation from the Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Health & Human Services and established a policy. After concerns were brought forward by several stakeholders, the bill sponsors chose to turn the bill into a study, directing DHHS to engage stakeholders and recommend policies on, among other things, including health benefit plan coverage and reimbursement.

HB 998: IMPROVING NC RURAL HEALTH

An act to direct DHHS to study and report recommendations to create incentives for medical education in rural areas of the state and to assist rural hospitals in becoming designated as teaching hospitals by CMS; to direct the Office of Rural Health to ensure its loan repayment program is targeted to benefit health care providers in rural NC, including identifying and making recommendations to address the need for dentists in rural areas; and to direct the Program Evaluation Division to study the State Health Plan and to direct DHHS to study the impact of the Medicaid program on the health of individuals residing in rural areas of the state, as well as on the economies of these rural areas, and any changes to the Medicaid program that will increase preventative health services, improve health outcomes, and lower the cost of care; and to improve access to dental care in rural NC.

Final Vote: 113-0

Note: The original bill was filed as a recommendation from an interim study committee, Committee on Access to Healthcare in Rural NC. Since then, additional language has been added to the bill, including provisions on studying the need for dentists in rural NC, and studying the State Health Plan and Medicaid programs on how to better improve health through preventative health services and lower the cost of care.

HB 1002: MEDICAL EDUCATION & RESIDENCY STUDY

An act to study medical education programs and medical residency programs, as recommended by the Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Health and Human Services and the Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee.

Final Vote: 113-0

Note: This bill will establish a legislative subcommittee which will study the "(1) Health care needs of the State's residents and the State's goals in meeting those health care needs through the support and funding of medical education programs and medical residency programs located within the State. (2) The short-term and long-term benefits to the State for allocating State funds to medical education programs and medical residency programs located within the State. (3) Recommended changes and improvements to the State's current policies with respect to allocating State funds and providing other support to medical education programs and medical residency programs located within the State. (4) Development of an evaluation protocol to be used by the State in determining (i) the particular medical education programs and medical residency programs to support with State funds and (ii) the amount of State funds to allocate to these programs. (5) Any other relevant issues deemed appropriate."