February Regulatory Update—This Month in Telehealth

This month in telehealth news, learn how some new national policies are advancing telemedicine and how others are restricting it.

On the state level, three states are bypassing a national solution to telehealth licensure portability, mulling legislation that would allow healthcare providers to practice telehealth across state lines.

Federal and Medicare

New Rules For Our Health’s Digital Future (TechCrunch)

Technology promises to transform healthcare. It’s redefining how we interact with, and act on, our health data, and reshaping how care is delivered and coordinated. But uptake so far has been limited.

Read more here

How Federal Reimbursement Policies May Inhibit Health Tech Innovation (FierceHealthIT)

Current federal reimbursement policies for health IT could be stifling development and innovation of new tools.

Read more here

Major Insurer Adds Telemedicine in Medicare Advantage Plans (Politico)

A new year brings a new set of benefits to health care plans, and one major health insurer is expanding its use of telemedicine in its Medicare Advantage offerings. Humana officials tell Morning eHealth they are expanding the benefit in 12 states starting this year – Arizona, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Washington and West Virginia.

Read more here

ATA Lobbies Medicare for More Telehealth Reimbursement (mHealth Intelligence)

The American Telemedicine Association is lobbying Medicare to reimburse physicians for a number of services conducted via telemedicine.

Read more here

Making Telehealth a Priority: Congress Mulls Changes to Medicare (mHealth Intelligence)

A report prepared by a working group of the Senate Finance Committee lists five policy changes that could boost telehealth – and its reimbursement – in a number of Medicaid programs for people with chronic conditions.

Read more here

State Medicare Policies for Telemedicine Impact Use of Services (FierceHealthIT)

State policies on telemedicine use under Medicare can have a great impact on adoption of the technology.

Read more here

Read more about the study details here

Feds Urged to Make Telehealth a Standard of Care (mHealth Intelligence)

Telehealth should be an integrated standard of care for people with chronic conditions, not a separate path of care alongside traditional in-person visits.

Read more here


What’s Happening at the State Level?

On Telehealth License Portability, Each State Follows its Own Path (mHealth Intelligence)

While a national licensure compact is gaining momentum, some states are setting their own rules for telehealth across state lines. Not content to wait for a regional or national solution, at least three states are mulling legislation that would allow healthcare providers to practice telehealth across state lines.

Read more here

Read Florida’s HB 7087

Read New Mexico’s SB 78

Read Missouri’s HB 2350


Bill to Expand Mental Health Coverage to Telemedicine (Peninsula Clarion)

Alaska’s mental health services may soon be easier to access, even for patients in remote and rural areas.

Read more here


Connecticut’s New Laws For 2016 (Hartford Courant)

See the section on Telemedicine

Read more here


Massachusetts Uses Telemedicine Technology to Expand Access to Behavioral Health Services (Lexology)

Recognizing the importance of telemedicine, a committee of the Massachusetts Health Policy Commission recently voted on a grant program that will award up to $500,000 each for two telemedicine pilots that target the behavioral health needs of children, homebound seniors, and people with substance use disorders.

Read more here


Texas Takes Heat for its Telemedicine Restrictions (mHealth Intelligence)

The National Center for Policy Analysis is slamming Texas for the state’s efforts to curb telemedicine.

Read more here

Texas Ranks Worst in Telehealth (Gov’tHealthIT)

Telemedicine is moving ahead nationally but a few states, most especially Texas, are slow to recognize its value, according to a new report.

Read more here

Texas Board Asks Appeals Court to Block Suit Challenging Telemedicine Rules (Modern Healthcare)

The Texas Medical Board wants a federal appeals court to block a lawsuit challenging its controversial restrictions on telemedicine practice. The board said in court documents Friday that it wants the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to overturn a federal District Court’s December decision to let the antitrust case filed by telemedicine provider Teladoc proceed.

Read more here


8 Tips for Navigating New Wisconsin Telemedicine Rules (National Law Review)

The State of Wisconsin Medical Examining Board recently held a hearing to consider a proposed rule that, if enacted, would provide the first administrative requirements around the use of telemedicine services in Wisconsin. Wisconsin’s current administrative code is silent as to telemedicine practice.

Read more here

Read the proposed rule here

Regulatory Update Matrix
State Status Concerning Issue
Arkansas Draft- Feb. 4th
Medical Board Practice Standards
Delaware Proposed:
Comments Due
Feb. 17th
Mental Health
and Chemical
Dependency Board
Scope of Practice
Standards for Mental
Health Counseling;
Counselors: and Marriage
and Family Therapists
Florida Comments turned
in on Jan. 26th
Medical Board Prescribing Controlled
Idaho Board Approved-
See Telehealth
Medical Board Practice Standards
Missouri Discussions-
Taskforce Meeting
Feb. 5th
Pharmacy and
Medical Boards
No drafts or
proposals yet
North Dakota Amended- Next
Meeting Jan. 29th
Medical Board Practice Standards
Wisconsin Draft Proposal-
Jan. 20th Hearing
Medical Board Practice Standards
Information Gathered from ATA Monthly Update Webinar

Stay Tuned…

ATA released new gaps reports on Thursday, January 29—stay tuned next month to see how are among the best and worst ranked states. 

Next month, we will begin featuring our new “Gotcha of the Month” section. Do you have a regulatory “gotcha” that you want us to highlight? Email and your topic could be featured in next month’s regulatory update!

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