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TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami/NSF) – Physicians and other healthcare professionals using the Internet and other technology to provide care to patients remotely, also known as telehealth, began moving forward in the House Thursday.

With the backing of physician, insurance and consumer groups, the plan aimed at increasing the use of telehealth gained movement.

Supporters say, for example, it can be helpful in treating patients in rural areas.

The House Health Quality Subcommittee on Thursday unanimously approved a telehealth bill (HB 545), filed by Rep. Travis Cummings, R-Orange Park, and Rep. Mia Jones, D-Jacksonville. A similar measure (SB 478) has started moving in the Senate.

While some providers, such as hospitals, already use telehealth, the House bill deals with issues such as standards of care and requiring that telehealth providers be licensed in Florida.

The House and Senate could not reach agreement on a telehealth bill last year, but negotiations have been ongoing to reach a compromise this year.

“Last year we made a good run at it and kind of ran out of time,” Cummings said.

“The News Service of Florida contributed to this report.”

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