West Virginia delegates approved a telehealth bill on Monday with a vote of 95-4 that would expand access to mental and behavioral healthcare medications in rural areas. The bill now heads to the state senate for another vote.
House Bill 2509 would allow providers to prescribe certain medications through the use of telemedicine.
Currently, state laws prohibit providers from prescribing certain medications using telehealth, including oxycodone and morphine, which have contributed to the states opioid abuse crisis.
While this new bill wouldn't lift the ban on prescribing opioids, it does allow for mental and behavioral health prescriptions through telehealth.
Cabell County Delegate Matthew Rohrbach told West Virginia Public Broadcasting that the Mountain State has "a tremendous problem with access to mental health providers, particularly for our pediatric population," noting that attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is one of the primary conditions the bill seeks to address.
"Kids that have ADHD can be treated via telehealth to get their Adderall and other prescriptions for such, so this is not to allow pill mills," Rohrback said. "This is really to extend for our mental health providers a way to service our clients in rural areas."