By Drew Wilson –

Telemedicine has the potential to bring health care access to new heights, but amendments to the House and Senate telemedicine packages Thursday would be a regression.

HB 23 has already cleared the House and is ready for a vote in the Senate. The Senate’s telehealth package, SB 1526, is also on ready for a floor vote.

With both bills in the same chamber, Clearwater Republican Sen. Ed Hooper filed amendments to each that would block Floridians from ordering prescription contact lenses and glasses online unless they get “a contemporaneous eye health examination.”

Essentially, customers can still pick up their specs online but they won’t be able to skip a trip to the optometrist.

That’s a major change from the current rules, and according to 1-800-Contacts lobbyist Rhett O’Doski, there’s little reason for it.

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