By Mike Kruzman /

A local legislator has introduced a plan that would make it easier for Livingston County residents to get the health care they need. The Michigan House Ways & Means Committee, this week, approved a bipartisan plan introduced by Republican State Representative Hank Vapuel of Fowlerville that makes getting preventative and routine health care more accessible via telehealth. Under current law, telemedicine visits between patients and doctors must be done in real-time.

The new package of bills would allow patients to record video and forward it along with images to providers. This will give doctors more time to thoroughly analyze data and test results. Vaupel said, in a release, that while access to health care has primarily been a hurdle for rural residents up until now, in this new COVID-19 era, routine and preventative health care can be difficult for people in all parts of the state to access. With many unable to get the care they need under the executive order or who are at too high of a risk to leave their home, Vaupel said the increased use of telemedicine is the answer.

Other bills in the package now allow for Medicaid to pay for remote patient monitoring and telemedicine visits when a patient is at home or in school.

House Bills 5412-5416 received unanimous support from the Ways & Means Committee, and now move to the House floor for further consideration.