In the first legislative session since the General Assembly shut down due to COVID-19, State Rep. Dave Rutigliano (R-123rd), lauded passage of a bill which expands the use of telehealth in Connecticut.

Rutigliano voted in favor of expanded measures made possible by a recent gubernatorial executive order.

"For many individuals, telehealth services with their medical providers are essential to meet their health needs without risking contracting the virus,” Rutigliano said. “This is especially true for at-risk populations.”

The bill permits these visits to be covered by insurance and there also is an audio-only option for those without internet or video conferencing ability.

The bill, which was passed by the state House, modifies telehealth requirements through June 30, 2021, by expanding authorized telehealth providers, allowing certain telehealth providers to use audio-only telephone, allowing the use of additional communication technologies, and establishing payment requirements for uninsured and under-insured patients.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, telehealth services can facilitate public health mitigation strategies during this pandemic by increasing social distancing. These services can be a safer option for health care providers and patients by reducing exposures and can reduce the strain on healthcare systems by minimizing patient demand on facilities.

Telehealth (also commonly referred to as “telemedicine”) is a method for delivering health care services in which a health care provider uses telecommunication technology to provide health care services to a patient at a different location.