Telehealth Updates: Montana and Indiana

In Montana, a bill that would have banned audio-only telemedicine for first-time visits in Montana failed to pass the State Senate last week in a 38-12 floor vote. The bill had already passed the State House of Representatives, but State Senators opposed the bill after realizing a majority of Montanans do not have access to wired broadband speeds capable of supporting video. The bill was supported by the medical society and state medical board and would have required doctors practicing telemedicine to establish a relationship with their patients through video chat or in-person first, and, after the relationship is established, doctors will be allowed to conduct visits with only audio communication.

In Indiana a bill that will allow controlled substances to be issued via telemedicine is headed to the Governor's desk after it passed the House on Tuesday, April 18. The prescribing provider must have treated the patient in-person before issuing the controlled substance. The bill is set to take effect on July 1, 2017.