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The U.S. federally-funded Policy Finder lookup tool and Policy Trend Maps are regularly updated by the Center for Connected Health Policy (CCHP) based on the latest information from ongoing state telehealth policy tracking. See Telehealth.org’s article COVID-19: Tipping Point in Telehealth Policy for previous telehealth policy changes. States reviewed included Arkansas, California, Colorado, Idaho, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Maryland, Maine, Missouri, Mississippi, and the District of Columbia. The Policy Finder Lookup Tool and Policy Trend Maps are services developed with Congressional funding by the Center for Connect Health policy (CCHP). The article below summarizes the key points of this recent update.
Telehealth Policy Changes in Private Payer Laws
The most common change that CCHP noted for this group of states was in private payer laws. It was common for states to change and, in most cases, expand the definition of telehealth and telemedicine. These expansions typically involved the broadening of the technologies allowed for delivering telehealth to go beyond video. The expansions modified the definition of telehealth by making it broader in scope so that it entails more than just live video, although a few exceptions were found:
- Arkansas: Specifies that telemedicine doesn’t include communication via audio-only.
- Iowa: Includes “real-time interactive electronic media” and excludes audio-only phone calls from the definition of telehealth.
- Illinois: Requires reimbursement parity for in-network or tiered network health care professionals and facilities, including services that are provided audio-only.
- Maine: Prohibits carriers from putting restrictions on prescribing medications via telehealth if it would otherwise be allowed in person.
- Iowa: Reimbursement for covered services is made at the same rate and on the same basis as in-person mental health care.
Telehealth Policy Changes for Medicaid, Professional Regulation & Licensure Compacts
Telehealth policies updates from other states primarily revolved around Medicaid, professional regulation, and licensure compacts. Some examples include:
- Arkansas: Made clear that the home can be used as an originating site, and group therapy provided to adults is permitted to be provided through telemedicine.
- California: Has extended Medicaid telehealth waivers and flexibilities until July 1, 2022, created an advisory group to evaluate long-term telehealth protocols for billing, and authorizes Medicaid remote patient monitoring coverage.
- Colorado: Enacted the Occupational Therapy Compact and Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology Compact.
- Kansas: Authorized the issuance of telemedicine waivers for out-of-state healthcare providers.
- Maine: Joined the Psychology Interjurisdictional Compact and Occupational Therapy Compact.
- Maryland: Until June 30, 2023, Maryland will require Medicaid and private payer reimbursement parity, including audio-only.
- Mississippi: Clarified FQHCs/RHCs, occupational therapists, physical therapists, and speech-language pathologists to serve as distant site providers. They also included home-based care in the definition of the originating site. Lastly, the requirement for prior hospitalization was eliminated for patients to qualify for remote monitoring services.
- District of Columbia: Enacted both the Physical Therapy Compact and the Psychology Interjurisdictional Compact.
More Telehealth Policy Change Information
Given the nuanced and varied approaches states are taking with their telehealth policies, please reference CCHP’s telehealth Policy Finder to link to additional details and access each states’ policies in their entirety.
Basic Telehealth Legal & Ethical Rules: HIPAA, Privacy, Working Across State Lines, Malpractice Insurance
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