Telemedicine

Medical Marijuana Advances at Statehouse

Apr 4, 2017

On The Legislature Today, medical  marijuana is one step closer to becoming legal in West Virginia after a vote in the House, but the latest version of the bill delays the program until 2019.

In the Senate, members vote unanimously to add an abortion restriction to the state’s telemedicine law.

Will Price / West Virginia Legislative Photography

Senators have approved a House bill that clarifies the state’s telemedicine laws, but also creates a new restriction for certain treatments.

House Bill 2509 makes it clear that doctors can treat certain diseases in minors or adults who are still enrolled in public school. 

Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

Delegates have approved a bill that its sponsors hope will expand access to mental and behavioral health medications.

House Bill 2509 allows physicians to prescribe certain controlled substances through telemedicine technologies – like over a video call. Doctors are currently prohibited from prescribing certain types of medications over telemedicine systems, including narcotics like oxycodone and morphine—drugs that have been abused in recent years in the state.

On The Legislature Today, the state of West Virginia’s budget has largely been the focus of this legislative session, overshadowing many of the other bills making their way through the process.

Several pieces of legislation, though, have been introduced to aid the victims of rape and sexual assault in the state. Sen. Mike Woelfel and Nancy Hoffman with the West Virginia Foundation for Rape Information and Services discuss those bills.

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Telemedicine has been touted as a way to fill in some gaps in health care for rural residents.  But telemedicine relies on broadband service, which parts of Appalachia still don’t have.

“Without broadband, you don’t have telemedicine,” said nurse practitioner Lindsey Kennedy. Kennedy manages the telemedicine program at Bland County Medical Center in southwestern Virginia.  

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West Virginia University’s Telepsychiatry Program received a $1.2 million grant this week from the Health Resources and Services Administration to expand telemedicine services in four West Vi

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U.S. Senators Joe Manchin and Shelley Moore Capito announced Thursday that three West Virginia institutions will split over a million dollars in federal awards to establish a new telemedicine network in rural communities and schools.