Priority Bills Would Advance Telehealth and More

New bills have been introduced in the 2018 Legislative session offering solutions to health care problems, including ways to combat the opioid epidemic, changes to healthcare payment systems, and paving the road to telehealth. Here is a short summary of a few bills we will keep an eye on this session. HAPTA will continue to advocate for PTs and our patients.

  • SB2202, HB2424, HB1921: No more Excise Tax on DME. Provides a general excise tax exemption from the sale of mobility enhancing equipment, DME and prosthetic devices. We prescribe these equipment for patients daily, and although insurers will cover a portion of the cost, the patient is often left with the excise tax. Often times, those patients and family are unable to afford the medically necessary equipment due to the overall financial stress of their medical condition.
  • SB2891: Telehealth is in the works! This bill appropriates funds to the Department of Health to conduct a telehealth pilot project. Telehealth is growing in healthcare and providing improved access of care to remote locations, to those with limited physical mobility or transportation. This bill will evaluate the clinical and administrative efficacy of various telehealth delivery models.
  • SB2298: Benefits to be a Clinical Instructor? Allows healthcare professional of in-state programs (APRN, physicians, dentists, pharmacists, psychologists) a tax credit for acting as a preceptor for volunteer-based, supervised, clinical training rotations. We are aware of the challenges that our in-state programs face to find clinical sites and support this tax credit incentive option. HAPTA is proposing amendments to include physical therapists who will act as a preceptor for PTAs in their clinical internships.
  • SB2364, HB1640: No more delays for WC reimbursements. This bill enables the injured worker to proceed and receive care as soon as the claim is open. Sometimes claims are on hold or pending investigation, leaving the worker without a “paycheck” and the providers without “reimbursements.” The wait can even be months!
  • HB1602: Opioid warning labels. This bill will require warning labels on opioid prescriptions warning of potential addiction and harm. APTA started a #ChoosePT movement to fight the opioid epidemic. HAPTA supports any means that aligns with our goals to promote the choice of alternative methods of treatment and the decreased abuse of opioids in healthcare.

For testimony submittal and tracking of bills, please visit capitol.hawaii.gov to create an account. If you feel passionate to support one or more of these bills email info@hapta.org to get in contact with our Legislative Committee.

Joanne Zazzera
HAPTA Legislative Committee Chair

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