Honolulu, Hawaii


RE: S.B. No. 1246

S.D. 1




Honorable Ronald D. Kouchi

President of the Senate

Thirtieth State Legislature

Regular Session of 2019

State of Hawaii




Your Committee on Commerce, Consumer Protection, and Health, to which was referred S.B. No. 1246 entitled:




begs leave to report as follows:


The purpose and intent of this measure is to establish permanent resources, including a telehealth advisory council, state telehealth coordinator, and telehealth administrative simplification working group, to help achieve Hawaii's goal of establishing telehealth as a community standard for health care access.


Your Committee received testimony in support of this measure from the Department of Health, Hawaii Psychological Association, Healthcare Association of Hawaii, Hawaii Primary Care Association, Hawaii Chapter of the American Physical Therapy Association, The Queen's Health Systems, and Hawaii Medical Service Association. Your Committee received comments on this measure from the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs.


Your Committee finds that telehealth is a proven way to facilitate timely access to quality health care, improve health outcomes, reduce the incidence of avoidable urgent and emergency care, and ensure equitable distribution of health care providers. Telehealth allows health care providers to treat patients in settings that are more convenient and comfortable for the patient, which facilitates a patient-centered approach for delivery of health care services.


Despite the removal of several long-standing barriers to telehealth adoption, telehealth utilization remains low. Your Committee finds this measure increases the visibility of telehealth, provides the Department of Health and its partners resources needed to continue working with community stakeholders, and moves the State closer to achieving its telehealth goals.


Your Committee has amended this measure by:


(1) Amending the definition of "telehealth" for conformity with existing definitions under the State's insurance laws;


(2) Clarifying certain requirements for the Strategic Telehealth Advisory Council, including the maximum number of members and selection of a chairperson;


(3) Establishing quorum requirements for the Strategic Telehealth Advisory Council;


(4) Clarifying the role and responsibilities of the telehealth administrative simplification working group and clarifying that the working group is exempt from the sunshine law, rather than the entirety of chapter 92, Hawaii Revised Statutes;


(5) Making the appropriation for the state telehealth coordinator position effective on July 1, 2019; and


(6) Making technical, nonsubstantive amendments for the purposes of clarity and consistency.


As affirmed by the record of votes of the members of your Committee on Commerce, Consumer Protection, and Health that is attached to this report, your Committee is in accord with the intent and purpose of S.B. No. 1246, as amended herein, and recommends that it pass Second Reading in the form attached hereto as S.B. No. 1246, S.D. 1, and be referred to your Committee on Ways and Means.


Respectfully submitted on behalf of the members of the Committee on Commerce, Consumer Protection, and Health,