Testimony of Courtney Joslin
Resident Fellow, R Street Institute

Georgia House Health and Human Services Committee

February 15, 2022

In Support of House Bill 629

Chair Cooper, Vice Chair Newton and the members of the House Health and Human Services Committee,

My name is Courtney Joslin and I am a resident fellow for the R Street Institute, a nonprofit, nonpartisan public policy research organization whose mission is to engage in policy research that supports free markets and limited, effective government. I lead R Street’s research on health care disintermediation, medical scope of practice and telehealth policy. Thank you for the opportunity to testify today on House Bill 629.

As the committee knows, telehealth is a lifeline for many individuals and families, particularly in underserved areas. [1] Georgia policymakers have previously acted to capitalize on telehealth’s advancing role in reaching these communities for a number of healthcare services. The numerous reforms that passed under the Georgia Telehealth Act in 2019 included changes like payment parity, an expanded originating site definition and more telehealth modalities in which patients and providers can connect regardless of internet access. [2]

While these changes were fairly comprehensive, Georgia’s telehealth policies can still grow to meet what many states already allow, namely for ocular telehealth. Under HB 629, Georgia’s ophthalmologists would be granted the same telehealth discretion as other licensed Georgian physicians. With this reform, patients and their eye doctors could work to create care plans that include telehealth, fostering a convenience that cannot be understated.

We respectfully encourage the committee to pass this legislation, which will benefit both patients and eye care service providers.

Thank you for your time.

Courtney Joslin
Resident Fellow, R Street Institute
[email protected]

[1] Rena Brewer et al., “A Peach of a Telehealth Program: Georgia Connects Rural Communities to Better Healthcare,” Perspectives in Health Information Management (Winter 2011). https://perspectives.ahima.org/a-peach-of-a-telehealth-program-georgia-connects-rural-communities-to-better-healthcare.

[2] Senate Bill 118, Georgia Regular Session 2019-2020. https://www.legis.ga.gov/legislation/55073.

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