Governor Doug Ducey recently signed legislation to dramatically expand telemedicine in Arizona and provide greater opportunities for accessible medical services.

“Ensuring Arizonans have access to safe and reliable medical services is a top priority,” says Governor Ducey. “Telehealth expands access to medical services for low-income families and those living in rural areas, protects vulnerable populations, and allows snowbirds visiting our state to receive telemedicine from their home state. Patients and medical professionals know what’s best for their needs, and we’re working to make sure they have access to those services. I’m grateful to Representative Regina Cobb for sponsoring House Bill 2454, and to the legislators and medical professionals who supported it.”

House Bill 2454 puts Arizona at the national forefront of telemedicine. It expands access to telemedicine for patients, ensures doctors receive equal compensation from insurance companies for telemedicine services, and allows out-of-state health care professionals to provide telemedicine in Arizona.

Under the bill, medical examinations in the worker’s compensation space can also be conducted via telehealth if all parties consent. It also prohibits healthcare boards from enforcing any rule that requires a patient to visit in-person before being prescribed most medications.

“HB 2454 is a win for physicians and patients alike,” says Arizona Medical Association President Dr. Miriam Anand. “Every patient deserves access to the appropriate care needed to treat their medical conditions. HB 2454 will break down unnecessary barriers to telehealth and help facilitate the delivery of high-quality care to patients across Arizona.”

HB 2454 will make telemedicine services provided to Arizonans through the Governor’s Executive Order last March permanent. This order required health care insurance companies to expand telemedicine coverage for all services that would normally be covered for an in-person visit, and was instituted to ensure that Arizonans who may be sick or under quarantine could access care from their homes and avoid potentially risky trips to a health care provider.

“On behalf of Phoenix Children’s and our patient families, I would like to thank the Governor and Representative Cobb for their leadership on this important piece of legislation to expand telehealth for Arizona’s children,” says Phoenix Children’s Medical Group Physician-in-Chief and Chief Operating Officer Dr. Jared Muenzer. “Telehealth is a proven tool for connecting children with their clinical teams, improving access to medical and behavioral health care, driving quality outcomes, and giving our Phoenix Children’s patients the hope and healing they need, right in their own homes.” “Telehealth has proven to be an invaluable aspect of delivering behavioral and integrated health service to individuals and families that would not have received those services otherwise during the pandemic,” says Touchstone Health Services CEO Eddy D. Broadway. “We are so excited and pleased that telehealth is now a permanent aspect of the service delivery system and will definitely benefit members that we serve — a real game changer.”