State policymakers are getting off to energizing start in 2013 with action being taken to expand access and coverage to telemedicine. Seven states and the District of Columbia have already introduced bills addressing the coverage and reimbursement of telemedicine services: Connecticut, Florida, Indiana, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Mexico, and South Carolina.
• District of Columbia – B20-0050 introduced by Councilwoman Mary Cheh (D-Ward 3) requires private health insurers and Medicaid to cover healthcare services provided through medicine if the same services would be covered when delivered in-person. The bill defines telemedicine as “the delivery of healthcare services through the use of interactive audio, video, or other electronic media used for the purpose of diagnosis, consultation, or treatment”.
• Connecticut – SB No. 40 introduced by Senator Crisco (D-17) requires health insurers in the state to cover health care services provided through “telecommunications technology”. Medicaid Expansion
• Florida – HB 499 introduced by Representative Mia Jones (D-14) requires health insurers, including Medicaid, to provide coverage for telemedicine services; extends Medicaid telemedicine service coverage to home care; provides coverage under state plan or waiver for health home services provided to eligible individuals with chronic conditions; authorizes rules to allow consultation with certain out-of-state health care practitioners & professionals. The bill defines telemedicine services as the “delivery of health care services…synchronous video conferencing, remote patient monitoring, asynchronous health images, or other health transmissions supported by mobile devices (mHealth) or other telecommunications technology used for the purpose of diagnosis, consultation, or treatment at a site other than the site where the provider is located.
• Mississippi – SB 2209 introduced by Senator Terry Burton (R-31) requires health insurance plans in to provide coverage for telemedicine services to the same extent that the services would be covered if they were provided through in-person consultation; authorizes health care practitioners licensed in MS to provide treatment recommendations to a patient after having performed an appropriate examination of the patient through telemedicine. The bill defines telemedicine as the “delivery of health care services such as diagnosis, consultation, or treatment through the use of interactive audio, video, or other electronic media. Telemedicine must be "real-time" consultation, and it does not include the use of audio-only telephone, email, or facsimile”.
• New Mexico – SB 69 introduced by Senator Gerald Ortiz y Pino (D-12) requires health insurers in the state to cover health care services provided through telemedicine. The bill defines telemedicine as “the use of interactive audio, video, or other telecommunications technology by a health care provider to deliver health care services at a site other than the site where the patient is located…including the use of store-and-forward technology”.
• New Mexico – HB 171 introduced by Representative Stephen Easley (D-50) requires health insurers in the state to cover health care services provided through telemedicine. The bill defines telemedicine as “the use of interactive audio, video, or other telecommunications technology by a health care provider to deliver health care services at a site other than the site where the patient is located, including the use of electronic media for consultation relating to the health care diagnosis or treatment of the patient in real time or through the use of store-and-forward technology”.
• South Carolina – SB 290 introduced by Senators Raymond Cleary III (R-34), Bradley Hutto (D-40), and Greg Hembree (R-28) requires coverage of telemedicine services by individual and group health maintenance organizations. The bill defines telemedicine as “the delivery of health care, including diagnosis, treatment, or transfer of medical data, by means on interactive audio, video, or data communications by a consulting health care provider to a patient at a referring site. Interactive audio and video telecommunications must be used between the consultant site and referring site”.
• Indiana – SB No. 554 introduced by Senator Vaneta Becker (R-50) requires Medicaid to reimburse certified home health agencies, federally qualified health centers, and rural health clinics for telehealth services covered under the Medicaid program. The bill defines telehealth as “the use of telecommunications and information technology to provide access to health assessment, diagnosis, intervention, consultation, supervision, and information across a distance".
• Nebraska – LB 556 introduced by Senators Amanda McGill (26), Brad Ashford (20), and Annette Dubas (34) authorizes the provision of telehealth services for children through public schools.
• Nebraska – LB505 introduced by Senator Colby Coash (R-27) requires health insurers to cover the screening, diagnosis, and treatment of autism for individuals under 21. Allows for the provision of behavioral health treatment through telehealth.
• Nebraska – LB 605 introduced by Senator Pete Pirsch (4) creates a Telehealth Behavioral Health Services Program for youth in juvenile justice programs.
Also, as a result of ATA’s work with the National Organization of Black Elected Legislative Women (NOBEL), their telemedicine champions are strongly considering telemedicine parity legislation in twenty-two states: Arizona, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Maryland, Massachusetts, Missouri, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, and West Virginia. We have been informed of draft parity legislation being prepared and strongly considered for introduction in the Arizona General Assembly.
We urge all ATA members to contact your state elected official and urge them to support proposed legislation that expands and mandates the coverage and reimbursement of telemedicine services, comparable to that of in-person services, under private insurance, Medicaid plans, and state employee health benefit plans. Here is a list of NOBEL State Elected Officials who are strongly considering telemedicine legislation in their respective states:
•Senator Leah Landrum Taylor, Arizona
•Senator Joyce Elliott, Arkansas
•Senator Toni Nathaniel Harp, Connecticut
•Senator Margaret Rose Henry, Delaware
•Representative Stephanie T. Bolden, Delaware
•Senator Arthenia Joyner, Florida
•Senator Cherie Buckner-Webb, Idaho
•Senator Mattie Hunter, Illinois
•Representative Deborah Berry, Iowa
•Representative Barbara Ballard, Kansas
•Senator Catherine E. Pugh, Maryland
•Representative Gloria Fox, Massachusetts
•Senator Shalonn “Kiki” Curls, Missouri
•Assemblywoman Dina Neal, Nevada
•Assemblywoman Sheila Y. Oliver, New Jersey
•Representative Jane Powdrell-Culbert, New Mexico
•Senator Ruth Hassell-Thompson, New York
•Senator Earline Parmon, North Carolina
•Senator Charleta Tavares, Ohio
•Senator Edna Brown, Ohio
•Representative Vanessa Lowery Brown, Pennsylvania
•Representative Anastasia Williams, Rhode Island
•Representative Gilda Cobb-Hunter, South Carolina
•Delegate Charlene Marshall, West Virginia
•Delegate Meshea Poore, West Virginia