Bill filed to encourage telemedicine, a subject the governor has also endorsed — except for abortion | Arkansas Blog

Monday, January 26, 2015

Bill filed to encourage telemedicine, a subject the governor has also endorsed — except for abortion

Posted By on Mon, Jan 26, 2015 at 1:11 PM

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  • Arkansas Business
Irony alert: State Rep. Deborah Ferguson filed a bill today to encourage the use of telemedicine in Arkansas. Sure. It can overcome distance, weather and lack of medical professionals to deliver needed services.

The legislation, if passed, would have to be amended presumably so that it would explicitly prohibit a doctor from prescribing a pill to a woman that would, in time, produce a miscarriage in the first nine weeks of a pregnancy. A bill to make that lawl is on a House committee agenda Tuesday. Taking a pill is otherwise known as an abortion procedure to anti-abortionists.

Here's some of the rest of the story on Ferguson's bill. It's a story by Mark Friedman for Arkansas Business about how telemedicine is being shut out of Arkansas by rules of the state Medical Board. There, doctors regulate doctors and the doctors believe in in-person practice. (Ferguson's bill applies only to doctors licensed in Arkansas.)

Deborah Ferguson could have a powerful friend on her side. Consider this snippet from Gov. Asa Hutchinson's speech on health care and his plans for a review of every facet of how the government provides and/or supports healthcare.

As a rural state, there has to be access to healthcare in the rural areas. And that involves telemedicine so we can make sure that those in the less-affluent areas of our state have access to the highest quality healthcare. Through telemedicine a knee or hip specialist or neurologist in Little Rock or Northwest Arkansas can be brought to somebody in the Delta. We can share our expertise across the state. We have to continue to use technology to assure quality healthcare.

Just remember, telemedicine does not include a doctor giving a woman a pill that could later induce a miscarriage. Unless you believe in medical autonomy for women. Maybe Ferguson does.

UPDATE: Sen. Cecile Bledsoe also filed a telemedicine bill in the Senate.

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