HARRISBURG – The Senate recently approved several bills to promote the access and affordability of health care services and address other critical issues in the health care community, according to Senator Doug Mastriano (R-33), who supported the measures.
Senate Bill 857 would improve the availability of health care services by promoting telemedicine services in Pennsylvania. Telemedicine would allow care providers to deliver services digitally through the use of apps, Skype, FaceTime and other advanced technologies.
The legislation would help expand care and reduce costs, especially for seniors, individuals with disabilities, and members of rural or underserved communities.
“Legislation like this will help modernize the health care industry in Pennsylvania,” said Mastriano, who represents Adams County, as well as portions of Franklin, Cumberland and York counties in the Senate.
“Through the use of telemedicine, specialists and other health care providers are able to expand their reach, especially with rural patients,” added Mastriano. “This bill will help rural patients stay in their communities, instead of traveling long distances for specialized care.”
Senate Bill 841 would reauthorize the Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council (PHC4). The agency is responsible for collecting and analyzing data about the cost and quality of health care in the state, as well as studying issues that impact access to care.
The Senate also approved legislation to safeguard the health of Pennsylvania’s student athletes. Senate Bill 836, known as Peyton’s Law, would inform student athletes and their parents about the importance of electrocardiogram (EKG) testing to detect underlying heart conditions that can lead to Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA). The legislation is named in honor of Peyton Walker of Cumberland County, who died from SCA when she was just 19 years old.
“Medical professionals and parents recognize that we need to do more to protect student athletes,” said Mastriano. “Passage of this bill demonstrates that the legislature is committed to reducing the occurrence of SCA in our children.”
Additionally, legislation to protect health care practitioners and technicians was OK’d. Senate Bill 351 would increase the penalty for an assault on a health care practitioner or technician while in the performance of duty where there is bodily injury. The penalty would increase from a misdemeanor of the second degree to a felony of the second degree.
Existing state law already provides stiffer penalties for assaults against EMS personnel, including doctors, residents, nurses, paramedics and other members of the health care community. The bill would extend the same protections to a broader range of health care practitioners and technicians.
All four bills were sent to the House of Representatives for consideration.
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