An Update from the American Telemedicine Association

Governor Malloy signed into law legislation that would amend the standards of practice for some CT licensed healthcare providers and allow coverage for services via telehealth.  The standards provision goes into effect Oct. 1 and the parity provisions of the new law goes into effect Jan. 1, 2015.

Here’s a snapshot of what the new law outlines:

  • Practice standards:  Defines telehealth practice standards for the following state licensed healthcare professionals:  MD/DO, psychiatrist, PA, APRN, marriage & family therapist, psychologist, LCSW, alcohol and drug counselor, certified dietician-nutritionist, OT, PT, chiropractor, podiatrist, optometrist, naturopath.  These professionals are only allowed to provide services via telehealth to a patient when the following applies:
    • Using real-time, interactive, two-way communication technology or store and forward technologies;
    • Must have access to, or knowledge of, the patient’s medical history, as provided by the patient, and the patient’s health record, including the name and address of the patient’s primary care provider, if any;
    • Conforms to the standard of care applicable to the telehealth provider’s profession and expected for in-person care as appropriate to the patient’s age and presenting condition, except when the standard of care requires the use of diagnostic testing and performance of a physical examination, such testing or examination may be carried out through the use of peripheral devices appropriate to the patient’s condition; and
    • Provides the patient with the telehealth’s provider license number and contact information.
    • Requires patient informed consent
    • Prohibits internet prescribing of schedule I – III controlled substances
  • Exemptions:  The practice standards provision does not prohibit:
    • A health care provider from providing on-call coverage pursuant to an agreement with another health care provider or such health care provider’s professional entity or employer;
    • A health care provider from consulting with another health care provider concerning a patient’s care; or
    • Orders of health care providers for hospital outpatients or inpatients.
  • Definition:  “Telehealth” means the mode of delivering health care or other health services via information and communication technologies to facilitate the diagnosis, consultation and treatment, education, care management and self-management of a patient’s physical and mental health, and includes (A) interaction between the patient at the originating site and the telehealth provider at a distant site, and (B) synchronous interactions, asynchronous store and forward transfers or remote patient monitoring. Telehealth does not include the use of facsimile, audio-only telephone, texting or electronic mail.
  • Coverage parity for “medical advice, diagnosis, care or treatment” via telehealth under individual and group health policies
  • Does not place restrictions on patient or provider setting

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Latoya Thomas
Director, State Policy Resource Center
Washington DC
lthomas@americantelemed.org
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