Kansas governor passes telemedicine law laced with anti-abortion language

Kansas' Republican Gov. Jeff Colyer, MD, signed a telemedicine law that bars providers from using the technology for abortions but expands its use for speech-language pathology and audiology, according to Fox 14.

The legislation, HB 2028, passed 32 votes to six in the Senate and 108 to 13 in the House, but those who oppose the law's anti-abortion clause claim lawmakers turned a healthcare bill into a political one, The Topeka Capital-Journal reports.

"The bill has been hijacked and highly politicized by inserting an unnecessary and unprecedented non-severability clause," Kansas Sen. Laura Kelly, D-Topeka, told The Topeka Capital-Journal.  

Kansas already bans telemedicine-assisted abortions through a separate state statute, and if a court rules the abortion section of the telemedicine law cannot be enforced, the entire law becomes invalid.

Retired physician and Kansas Sen. Barbara Bollier, MD, R-Mission Hills, said she couldn't support the bill because it was an invasion of private physician-patient relationship. "It interferes with the constitutional right to decide, in collaboration with a physician, an individual's medical care," Dr. Bollier said, according to The Topeka Capital-Journal.  

The law permits healthcare providers to assess, diagnose, consult, treat, educate and care for patients through real-time audio-video conferencing. However, its definition of "telemedicine" doesn't allow voice-only telephone communication, e-mail or fax.

More articles on telehealth:
Starting June 11, VA physicians can practice telemedicine across state lines
In-person appointments cost $100 more than virtual ones — Here's how telehealth can save patients time and money
Emory Healthcare teams up with Australian hospital on remote ICU

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