A quartet of bills that would expand telemedicine healthcare services in Washington state recently passed the state Senate and are up for consideration in the House of Representatives, according to a media release. 

Sen. Randi Becker, R-Olympia, is the primary sponsor for Senate Bills 5385, 5386, 5387 and 5389, all of which individually deal with issues regarding telemedicine payment parameters, training or the application thereof. 

“I’m so pleased that my telemedicine bills were well received by my colleagues in the Senate,” Becker said. “The use of telemedicine is growing and I will continue to find ways to help that along because it’s critical that underserved populations – particularly in rural areas – get better access to health care services.”

Telemedicine health-care involves the use of digital mediums, such as video calling, to establish a long-range communication between a patient and medical practitioner. The recent growth of state telemedicine resources in recent years has been the result of a push by both Becker and university-based programs. 

SB 5389 would “provide training for school staff to recognize the signs of kids at risk of committing violence or suicide, and would provide telemedicine stations where students can receive mental health-care on the spot,” according to Becker’s office.

SB 5385 deals with payment parameters of telemedicine service providers, requiring health care providers to pay practitioners the same rate as if they were performing an in-person exam. 

SB 5386 requires telemedicine practitioners to undergo training and retain proper documentation to provide such services. SB 5387 lets facilities rely on a distant facility’s grant of credentials. 

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