Harrisburg, PA – Governor Tom Wolf today signed into law two bills: House Bill 1869 allows for National Guard members called to active duty to be covered under the Heart and Lung Act if they contract COVID-19 while performing their duties, and House Bill 752 provides for the Game Commission to pay a fair market value for land in Allegheny County.
Gov. Wolf also vetoed Senate Bill 857, a telemedicine bill that passed the Senate unanimously last year before being amended to an untenable version last week in the House.
“I supported a prior printer’s number of the bill, but as amended in the House of Representatives, this legislation arbitrarily restricts the use of telemedicine for certain doctor-patient interactions,” Gov. Wolf said. “As amended, this bill interferes with women’s health care and the crucial decision-making between patients and their physicians.”
The full veto memo can be found as a PDF here or on Scribd.
In addition to the telemedicine bill veto, the governor released cross-agency guidance on telehealth, citing its importance as a health care delivery option during COVID-19 and as providing it pertains to his authority under the Disaster Declaration signed in early March.
Given the potential for widespread transmission of COVID-19 across Pennsylvania and to limit its spread, many health care providers and patients are expanding use of telehealth rather than in-person health care services.
Today, the governor announced cross-agency guidance on steps taken to ensure that patients in need of vital health care services are receiving them in a timely, appropriate manner. Multiple state agencies are involved in providing expanded telehealth services, including the departments of State, Health, Drug and Alcohol Programs, Human Services and the Insurance Department.
The guidance, available as a PDF here or on Scribd, includes:
- Expanded Role of Providers
- Expanding Reimbursement for Telehealth Services
- Telehealth for Infant Toddler Early Intervention Procedures
- Telehealth for Behavioral Health
- Telehealth for Substance Use Disorder Treatment