Gianforte signs bill expanding telehealth

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

HELENA – Gov. Greg Gianforte signed a bill to eliminate unnecessary telehealth regulations and open the door to expanding access to health care April 19.

"Telehealth services are transforming how care is delivered in Montana, particularly in our frontier and rural communities," Gianforte said. "This new, commonsense law eliminates unnecessary, burdensome regulations, increases flexibility for patients and providers, and makes health care more accessible to more Montanans. If these telehealth regulations weren’t needed as we confront the pandemic, they’re not needed as we move forward."

Sponsored by Rep. Rhonda Knudsen (R-Culbertson), House Bill 43 permanently eliminates some telehealth regulations waived during the pandemic, like geographic and site restrictions and a requirement that patients and providers establish a relationship prior to leveraging telehealth services under certain circumstances.

"If the current regulations on telehealth weren’t needed in the midst of a global pandemic, they weren’t necessary in the first place," HB 43 sponsor Knudsen said. "With advancements in medical and communications technologies, many primary care needs can be met through the practice of telehealth. This is a commonsense bill to increase Montanans’ access to health care." 

The new law also revises the definition of telemedicine to allow for the use of more technologies and expands which insurance plans cover telehealth services.

"During the COVID-19 pandemic, we have seen an expansion of telemedicine in our state. These new tools are particularly useful to those in rural communities, our elderly, and our veterans. House Bill 43 will expand access to healthcare for all Montanans." Commissioner of Securities and Insurance Troy Downing added.