Frontier Institute Statement in support of HB 43

Frontier Institute Statement in support of HB 43

Lawmakers can preserve access to telehealth after COVID by repealing regulations permanently.

HELENA (Jan. 19, 2021) – Today the Frontier Institute offered support for HB 43, a bill to permanently expand access to telehealth in Montana.

HB 43, proposed by Representative Rhonda Knudsen of Culbertson, follows Frontier Institute recommendations to permanently eliminate regulations waived during the coronavirus outbreak which increased telehealth access and helped lower costs.

“Thousands of Montana patients have benefited from telehealth for the first time in the last year, but are at risk of losing this access when emergency orders expire,” said Kendall Cotton, President and CEO of the Frontier Institute. “With HB 43, lawmakers can preserve access to telehealth after the COVID emergency ends by repealing telehealth regulations permanently.”

In addition to flexibilities authorized at the federal level, emergency orders temporarily waived numerous Montana regulations of telehealth in 2020, including:

  • Montana’s prohibition on telehealth via audio-only telephone.
  • Requirements that a provider/patient relationship be established prior to providing telehealth.
  • Rules requiring face-to-face interactions with healthcare professionals.

As a direct result of waiving these regulations, reports show 27 percent of Montana seniors on Medicare used telehealth to talk with their primary care providers, with at least 12,000 Montana seniors using audio-only telephones.

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