Monthly Telemedicine Regulatory Roundup- December 2015

Regulatory Resource Report

Welcome to InSight Telepsychiatry’s Regulatory newsletter.  This publication is a monthly summary of important regulatory activity in the past month.

Medicare/ Medicaid

Telemedicine Codes Added to CMS Final Payment Rules (FierceIT Health)

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ final rules for payments to physicians and hospitals, released this month, featured telemedicine billing codes.

Read more here

 

New Medicaid Rules Highlight Telehealth as Component to Improve Access Issues (ATA)

Four years after its proposed rule was published, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released a final rule that codifies policies regarding state Medicaid agency responsibilities to demonstrate and monitor access to care.

Read the final rule here

 

What’s Happening at the State Level?

Telehealth Coverage Legislation Throughout Four States (mHealth Intelligence)

Telehealth coverage legislation is being modified and implemented across the country due to its many benefits such as cost reduction and greater access to care. This article highlights four states (CO, NY, TX, NH) in which telehealth coverage legislation and other telemedicine guidance is spreading the use of this technology and improving access to care in isolated, rural locations.

Read more here

Alabama

Telemedicine Could Thrive in Alabama with Changes to Healthcare System (WHNT 19)

Since the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, was passed, expanding Medicaid has been a hotly debated topic. Governor Robert Bentley has resisted calls to expand the system but did address one topic we hear about frequently — rural health providers struggling to keep up. Telemedicine could be solution that allows doctors to weigh in from a distance, using videoconferencing and other tech, and it could bridge a lot of gaps with current rules, regulations, and restrictions.

Read more here

 

Alaska

Telehealth Program Key to Quality Healthcare in Alaska (Tech Target)

Although Alaska is often called “America’s last frontier,” when it comes to health IT, this title is not fitting. While the rest of the United States still works towards fully adopting and accepting telemedicine, Alaska has had its telehealth program in place since 1999. But, then again, Alaska also faces unique challenges compared to other states.

Read more here

 

Arkansas

Arkansas Doctors, Lawmakers, And Business Leaders Debate Value Of Telemedicine (UALR)

A form of telemedicine available in 49 other states is a good benefit for employees, said representatives of Walmart, J.B. Hunt, and America’s Car Mart. The Arkansas Medical Society and four state legislators, however, worry that the model will diminish the doctor-patient relationship. Those for and against were testifying Wednesday (Nov. 4) before the State Medical Board Telemedicine Advisory Committee, which is preparing recommendations for the use of telemedicine. The committee will meet again before making its final report to the State Medical Board.

Read more here

 

Ark. Medical Board Committee Holds Telemedicine Proposal Hearing (iHealthBeat)

An advisory committee to the Arkansas State Medical Board held a public hearing last month to discuss a proposal that would allow physicians to treat via telemedicine patients they have never examined in-person.

Read more here

Florida

Florida Proposes Telemedicine Medicaid Rules (National Law Review)

Florida’s Agency for Health Care Administration published proposed regulations regarding telemedicine-based services in the Medicaid program. Procedurally, the rules are intended to formalize telemedicine-related provisions to apply across specialty service areas as the Agency transitions away from its Coverage and Limitations Handbooks and instead implements service-specific coverage policies for the Medicaid program.

Read more here

Massachusetts

MA Health Policy Updates – Moves to Strengthen HPC and Expand Telemedicine (National Law Review)

Take a look at recent developments in Massachusetts health policy.

Read more here

Read bill H3678 here

Read bill H267 here

Read bill HD4209 here

 

New Jersey

InSight Director Among Experts Testifying before New Jersey Senate Health, Human Services, and Senior Citizens Committee in Support of Telemedicine (Press Release Rocket)

The New Jersey state Senate ‘Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee’ heard testimony on the current and potential applications of telemedicine services on November 9, 2015. The hearing was an important opportunity for New Jersey leaders to evaluate how telemedicine may allow for increased quality and availability of healthcare services to citizens.

Read more here

 

Health Policy Experts in NJ Agree on Potential Benefits of Telemedicine (NJ Spotlight)

Telemedicine could expand swiftly in New Jersey with the help of new legislation. But it is controversial, as supporters and doubters clash over an array of issues including questions related to licensing, fees and whether it can be as effective as traditional doctor-patient consultations.

Read more here

 

North Dakota

Five Takeaways from North Dakota’s Proposed Telemedicine Rules (Lexology)

The North Dakota Board of Medicine issued proposed regulations designed to move the Peace Garden State to the list of telemedicine-friendly states. The rules properly focus on the quality of care delivered, rather than the technical means through which it is delivered, aligning well with telemedicine practice rules articulated by other state medical boards.

Read more here

 

Regulatory Update Matrix

State Status Concerning Issue
Arizona Final Board of Behavioral Health Examiners Practice Standards
Arkansas DraftDec. 8th– Hearing Medical Board Practice Standards
Florida Draft Nov. 20th Meeting Medicaid Service Requirements for Providers
Mississippi No Rule Change Medical Board Board sent letter clarifying interpretation of telemedicine
Missouri Discussions Pharmacy and Medical Boards No drafts or proposals yet
North Dakota Final Medical Board Practice Standards
Ohio Board Approved Medical Board Internet Prescribing
South Carolina Board Approved Guidance Medical Board Practice Standards and Internet Prescribing
Virginia Final Board of Counseling Guidance
Wisconsin Draft Proposal Medical Board Practice Standards

***Information Gathered from ATA Monthly Update Webinar

 

In Other News…

 

Telemedicine Helps Bridge Shortage of Psychiatric Care (PrairieBusiness)

Read more here

 

New HHS Portal Aims to Help mHealth Developers Learn About HIPAA (iHealthbeat)

Read more here

 

FYI…

Top Three Reasons ACOs Should Use Telehealth and Telemedicine

Read more here

 

Exploring the High Tech Nature of Patient-Physician Relationships (HealthIT Outcomes)

Read more here

 

Back in the News…

AMA Holds Off on Setting Telemedicine Ethics Policy (Modern Healthcare)

Read more here

Stay Tuned…

Five Telemedicine Trends Transforming Health Care in 2016 (National Law Review)

Read more here

 

Will 2016 Be the Year of Telehealth and ACOs?

Read more here

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