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Applications For Florida Telehealth Taskforce Rolling In

Ryan Benk

Updated 4 p.m. 7/27

A committee tasked with investigating the best way to implement telemedicine in Florida is starting to take shape.

A 15-member panel mandated by a law passed last January should be in place next year.

Senator Aaron Bean, R-Fernandina Beach, has sponsored bills setting up a regulatory framework for the service of telemedicine for several years. The practice involves doctors diagnosing patients from a distance, usually usingwebcam technology.

But agreeing on a formula for ensuing doctors are paid for their service has been tricky. Especially deciding whether out of state doctors can treat Floridians and what conditions would be covered.

With the passage of a law this year though, those decisions have been largely delegated to a panel of 19 experts within the Agency for Healthcare Administration. Senator Bean said applications for a spot on the board are rolling in.

“There has been great interest in serving. Our Senate President, the Speaker of the House and the governor get the final say of who goes on there, but they’re going to have a great selection process to choose from,” Bean said.

Bean added the panel’s membership should be finalized during the 2017 legislative session and it’ll probably be another year after that before final recommendations are submitted to lawmakers.

“We’re going to put together some of the brightest minds of how to enact that legislation going forward. That’ll take another year and a half before we launch again. I’m committed to that product,” he said.

Names of potential commission members have not yet been released. 

CORRECTION: The number of panel members was incorrect. There are 15 members mandated by a law passed last January.

Ryan Benk is a former WJCT News reporter who joined the station in 2015 after working as a news researcher and reporter for NPR affiliate WFSU in Tallahassee.