Regulatory Update- Telemedicine

The FSMB licensure compact is back in the news, half a dozen states have introduced new telemedicine legislation and CMS is taking big steps towards reimbursement.

Medicare

New Bill May Expand Telehealth to Underserved Populations (mHealth Intelligence)

In recent months, discussions of telehealth and its availability among Medicare beneficiaries have been abuzz. A new piece of legislation, the Telemedicine for Medicare Act of 2015, could bring that necessary expansion.

Read more here                  Read bill S. 1778 here

ATA Supports Medicare Licensing Bill to Reduce Barriers to Healthcare (ATA)
ATA, in connection with 20 other national associations and businesses, sent a letter to the TELE-MED sponsors in Congress to show their support of expanding interstate access to care for Medicare beneficiaries. The Telemedicine for Medicare Act (S. 1778 and H.R. 3081) would allow Medicare physicians licensed in one state to treat Medicare patients in another without having to obtain an additional license for each state. Health professionals at some federal agencies including the Department of Defense already operate under a one state license plan approved by Congress.
Read the letter here

What’s Happening at the State Level?

How Telehealth Implementation Policies Vary Across the States (mHealth Intelligence)

Telehealth implementation policies differ in the wide array of states across the nation depending upon each individual region’s laws. Legislation such as telemedicine payment parity laws and telehealth implementation policies differ in each state while every year brings more rulings and modifications for technology and medical device adoption throughout the healthcare industry.

Read more here

Telehealth Slowly Gains in State Medicaid Policies (Medscape)

State Medicaid policies and laws are starting to open up the space for the use of telehealth or telemedicine (both terms are used in different states) in the treatment of patients.  But the majority of states still prohibit the use of “store-and-forward” telehealth and remote patient monitoring.

Read more here

Telehealth Payment Parity Laws Rising Rapidly Across States (mHealth Intelligence)

As the nationwide telehealth movement continues to make progress across the states, it is important to understand the many regulations and policies being adopted to properly reimburse physicians for offering telemedicine services. Telehealth commercial insurance coverage laws (including payment parity laws) are one key area of legal battles taking place between insurers and providers today, as states continue to pass varying and sometimes controversial legislation with regard to physician telemedicine reimbursement.

Read more here

Alabama

Alabama Halts Telehealth Rules (ATA)

The Alabama medical board said last week that it would immediately suspend its rules requiring first time visits between a patient and physician to be in-person. ATA’s report State Telemedicine Gaps Analysis – Physician Practice Standards & Licensure finds that Alabama, Arkansas and Texas have the strictest requirements when it comes to delivering telemedicine services compared to in-person health care.

Read more here

Colorado

Colorado Board of Medicine Adopts Flexible Telemedicine Guidelines (Biz Journal)

New telemedicine guidelines adopted by the Colorado Medical Board pave the way for more flexible and expanded use of the technology in the state.  The guidelines allow for greater use of telehealth for people living in cities in the state and are also are less restrictive than some enacted in other states.

Read more here

Minnesota

Gruenhagen Urges Action on Telemedicine (Hutchinson leader)

Rep. Glenn Gruenhagen, R-Glencoe, is among more than 20 Greater Minnesota legislators calling for federal legislation to expand telemedicine coverage for Minnesotans on Medicare.  A letter sent this past Friday to all 10 members of Minnesota’s congressional delegation urged support for Medicare reimbursement to be extended to cover telemedicine services.

Read more here

Mississippi

Mississippi is on the Wrong Track with Telemedicine (RStreet)

Recent years have seen plenty of debates about misguided health and safety regulations, but the current one in Mississippi threatens to frustrate one of the brightest trends in all of American health care – telemedicine.

Read more here

Oregon

Insurers Must Reimburse for More Video Medical Care (The Bulletin)

For the past five years, Oregon law has required private health insurance companies to pay for medical services rendered through two-way video conferencing. But there’s a catch. That conferencing, in order to be covered, can only happen between two medical facilities, such as provider’s offices or hospitals.

That’s going to change at the beginning of next year, when a new law takes effect that requires insurers to cover the services regardless of where the patient is located. The law is expected to greatly expand telemedicine — the use of electronic communication to provide medical care — across Oregon.

Read more here

 

Regulatory Update Matrix

State Status Concerning Issue
Alabama Rules Suspended Medical Board Practice Standards
Arkansas Meeting- Sept 23rd  Medical Board Telemedicine Committee Meeting
California Soliciting Comments Medicaid Teledentistry Coverage
California Draft Comments– Aug 24th Behavioral Sciences Board Scope of Practice
Colorado Board Approved Guidelines Medical Board Practice Standards
Louisiana Revised Draft- Aug 20th Hearing Medical Board Physician- Patient Relationship; Licensure; Prescribing
Massachusetts Proposed– Hearing Sept 2nd Medicaid Home Health RPM
Mississippi Withdrawn Medical Board Practice Standards
North Dakota Draft Medical Board Practice Standards
Ohio Board Approved Medical Board Internet Prescribing
South Carolina Board Approved Guidance Medical Board Practice Standards and Internet Prescribing
Tennessee Board Approved Medical Board Practice Standards and Prescribing

***Information Gathered from ATA Monthly Update Webinar

In Other News…..

 

Legal Risks on Par with Other Health Care (Business Insurance)

Offering telemedicine services to employees poses risks that are no greater than other forms of health care, experts say.

Read more here

FYI…..

The Boom in Telemental Health (Lexology)

Read more here

Telehealth: The Medicaid Reimbursement Landscape (Lexology)

Read more here

 

Various Telehealth Definitions, Policies ‘Confusing’ for Providers (FierceHealthIT)

Read more here

Stay Tuned…..

Physician Telemedicine Services Could Grow with New Policies (mHealth Intelligence)

Read more here 

Washington Debrief: Five Weeks Until ICD-10, CMS Announces National Call (HCI)

Read more here

UW Leads $11M Clinical Trial, Largest Ever, on Psychiatric Disorders in Rural America (BizJournals)

Read more here

Back in the News…..

Interstate Licensing Bill for Telemedicine Gathers Support (Medscape)

Read more here

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