MILESTONE – MOST STATES NOW HAVE TELEHEALTH PARITY LAWS

In a sweep, this week three more states, Indiana, Minnesota and Nevada, enacted telemedicine parity laws, which means over half the country – 27 states and DC – now have laws in place enforcing coverage for telemedicine-provided services.

Indiana’s parity law requires coverage of telemedicine services under private insurance via interactive audio, video or other electronic media.  The new law also prohibits a health care provider from being required to obtain a separate additional written health care consent for the provision of telemedicine services.  The law goes into effect July 1, 2015.

The new Minnesota law requires health plans to cover and reimburse for telemedicine in the same manner and at the same rate as in-person services.  The statute defines telemedicine as “the delivery of health care services or consultations while the patient is at an originating site and the licensed health care provider is at a distant site.”  Communication between a provider and patient that consists solely of e-mail or fax does not constitute telemedicine.  The new law does not place limits on the patient nor provider location and allows coverage for a broad list of health care providers.  There is also a provision in the law that amends an existing statute regarding Medicaid parity coverage of telemedicine.  Medicaid coverage is still limited to three telemedicine services per week for each beneficiary.  In addition to this, a Medicaid enrolled provider must now attest to a list of criteria to demonstrate safety and efficacy of the telemedicine services.  Minnesota’s parity law effects health plans issued before or after January 1, 2017.

Nevada’s parity law requires coverage and reimbursement for telehealth under private insurance, Medicaid and workers compensation to the same extent and in the same amount as though provided in person.  Telehealth is defined as “the delivery of services from a provider of health care to a patient at a different location through the use of technology that transfers information electronically, telephonically or by fiber optics, not including standard telephone, facsimile or electronic mail.”  Nevada is the only state that has extended its telemedicine parity policy to include workers compensation.

We’re almost halfway through the year and parity legislation is still active in Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Massachusetts, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio and Pennsylvania.  Join the ATA State Policy webinar this Thursday, May 28 at 2 p.m. ET to hear the latest on recent state decisions and new proposals.

CONGRESS KEEPS PUSHING OUT PROPOSALS TO PROMOTE TELEMEDICINE

Last  week, two new telehealth-related bills were introduced in Congress:

  • S. 1465, introduced by Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL) on May 22, would expand access to stroke telehealth services under the Medicare program. ATA estimates that over 125,000 patients will be diagnosed via telestroke in 2015.
  • H.R. 2516, the Veterans E-Health and Telemedicine Support Act (VETS Act),  was introduced by Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY) with 12 cosponsors on May 21. The bill would permit U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs health professionals to treat veterans nationwide with a single state license.

ATA supports both bills as they continue to remove artificial barriers to care and expand access to lifesaving treatment. There are currently 8 telemedicine-related bills  pending in Congress. One, the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act, has been enacted in this Congress.

ATA 2016 CALL FOR PRESENTATIONS

The call for presentations for ATA 2016 in Minneapolis will open in late July. More information about presentation criteria will be available in the coming weeks!

NEW: RESOURCES AND A DIALOGUE – CAN WE USE AUDIO, VIDEO OR EMAIL TO SAFELY EXAMINE DIAGNOSE AND TREAT BY TELEMEDICINE

Last week, ATA launched a resource page and an online chat space regarding various modes to deliver telemedicine services. ATA’s new page and discussion area are devoted to making available information about this issue and provides a discussion area open to ATA members to express their views and suggestions including comments for regulators, professional societies and other stakeholders. These valuable discussions will help inform and guide the larger public dialogue on this critical issue in healthcare delivery.

You can learn more and join the conversation at http://www.americantelemed.org/members/ata’s-member-hub/examining-diagnosis-and-treatment-by-telemedicine-what-is-safe-

ATA MEETING RECORDINGS NOW AVAILABLE

Unable to attend the recent ATA meeting or missed a session or course?  Order the ATA 2015 recordings and receive access to full, high-definition audio, synced with the presenter’s PowerPoint slides.  Purchase the recordings by June 15 and receive the attendee price.  http://learn.americantelemed.org/diweb/catalog/t/4818/c/96

EDUCATION CALENDAR

RESCHEDULED FOR: 
Tuesday, June 2, 2-3 p.m. EDT
This Month in Telemedicine
Videocast

Thursday, May 28, 2-3 p.m. EDT
Telemedicine in 2015 State Legislative and Regulatory Update
Webinar

May 26-28 – San Diego, Calif.
WLSA Convergence Summit
Co-sponsored by ATA

Friday, June 5, 3-4 p.m. EDT
Time and Place Independent Care: The Next Frontier For Dermatology 
Sponsored by the ATA Teledermatology SIG – Webinar

  • Sept. 16-18, 2015 – Washington, DC – ATA Fall Forum
  • Oct. 30-31 – ATA China
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