STAND. COM. REP. NO. 652
RE: S.B. No. 970
Honorable Ronald D. Kouchi
President of the Senate
Thirty-First State Legislature
Regular Session of 2021
State of Hawaii
Your Committees on Commerce and Consumer Protection and Judiciary, to which was referred S.B. No. 970, S.D. 1, entitled:
"A BILL FOR AN ACT RELATING TO TELEHEALTH,"
beg leave to report as follows:
The purpose and intent of this measure is to authorize the establishment of a physician-patient relationship via a telehealth interaction if the physician is licensed to practice medicine in the State.
Your Committees received testimony in support of this measure from the Hawaii Medical Board, University of Hawai‘i System, Office of Hawaiian Affairs, Hawai‘i Pacific Health, Healthcare Association of Hawaii, Kaiser Permanente Hawai‘i, AARP Hawai‘i, Hawaii Substance Abuse Coalition, The Queen's Health Systems, Aloha Independent Living Hawaii, Hawai‘i Public Health Institute, American Telemedicine Association, and two individuals.
Your Committees find that the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has resulted in the increased use of telehealth services. However, existing state law relating to the practice of telehealth is ambiguous regarding whether a patient can use telehealth to establish a relationship with a physician. Certain emergency proclamations and temporary waivers issued by the Governor during the COVID-19 pandemic clarified that a physician-patient relationship could be established by telehealth, and this measure codifies this change permanently to recognize this widely utilized practice in the United States and to significantly aid in expanding access to health care services, especially for the elderly and patients living in rural areas.
Your Committees have amended this measure by:
(1) Clarifying that, once a physician-patient relationship is established, a patient or physician licensed in this State may use telehealth for any authorized purpose, including consultation with a medical provider licensed in another state; and
(2) Making technical, nonsubstantive amendments for the purposes of clarity and consistency.
As affirmed by the records of votes of the members of your Committees on Commerce and Consumer Protection and Judiciary that are attached to this report, your Committees are in accord with the intent and purpose of S.B. No. 970, S.D. 1, as amended herein, and recommend that it pass Third Reading in the form attached hereto as S.B. No. 970, S.D. 2.
Respectfully submitted on behalf of the members of the Committees on Commerce and Consumer Protection and Judiciary,
KARL RHOADS, Chair
ROSALYN H. BAKER, Chair