Interested in the latest regulations affecting the telehealth industry? You’ve come to the right place! I kick off each month with a new edition of Regulatory Roundup – a blog that summarizes federal and state initiatives affecting the industry. Here’s what happened in June.
US House Bill 7876 – Connecting Rural Telehealth to the Future Act – Introduced
This bill seeks to amend title XVIII of the Social Security Act to protect Medicare beneficiaries’ access to telehealth services through the end of 2024. The current law only extends these provisions 151 days after the Public Health Emergency (PHE) expires. This bill would extend the following for fee-for-service beneficiaries:
- Removal of geographic requirements and continued expansion of eligible originating sites
- Practitioners eligible to furnish telehealth services
- Allowance of expanded services furnished by Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) and Rural Health Clinics (RHCs) and continued coverage and reimbursement parity
- Delay of the in-person requirement for telemental health services
- Allowance for audio-only telehealth services
- Use of telehealth to conduct face-to-face encounters before hospice eligibility recertification
- Continued flexibilities for Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs)
US 105521 – Calendar Year 2023 Home Health Prospective Payment Proposed Rule Released
CMS is proposing to collect data on the use of telecommunication technology on home health claims to allow CMS to characteristics of Medicare beneficiaries utilizing remote service. This would give CMS a greater understanding of the social determinants that affect who benefits most from these services and what barriers may exist for subsets of beneficiaries. Medicare’s Payment Policy, MedPAC, also recommends tracking to improve payment accuracy.
They are soliciting stakeholder feedback on the three new G-codes indicating the service was synchronous audio-video, synchronous audio-only, or remote patient monitoring. Comments on the entirety of the proposed rule are due by 5 p.m., August 16, 2022.
Alabama House Bill 423 – The Practice of Medicine – Enacted
The act allows physicians to establish a physician-patient relationship without a prior in-person visit. It also requires a physician or practice group that provides telehealth services more than four times in 12 months to the same patient for the same medical condition without resolution; the physician shall do one of the following:
- See the patient in person within a reasonable time, which shall not exceed 12 months
- Appropriately refer the patient to a physician who can provide the in-person care within a reasonable amount of time, which shall not exceed 12 months
- Each pregnancy shall be considered a separate or new condition
- The term “practice group” shall mean, at a minimum, a group of providers who have access to the same medical records
Colorado Senate Bill 181 – Enacted – Behavioral Health Care Workforce
Effective July 1, 2022, this act will ensure that Colorado has a high-quality, trained, culturally responsive, and diverse behavioral healthcare provider workforce to improve access to services. The health administration must create and implement a plan to expand, strengthen, and invest in the behavioral health workforce that will:
- Expand telehealth options
- Promote, recruit, and provide advancement opportunities to new and existing behavioral health providers
- Increase the number of peer support providers
- Support rural communities in developing resident skill level
- Offer student loan forgiveness and scholarships
- Increase flexibility for credentialing and licensing reciprocity
Kentucky House Bill 188 – Enacted
The act provides that state agencies required to create telehealth regulations must use the terminology established by the cabinet and comply with minimum requirements pursuant to KRS 211.334. The act also prohibits the delivery of telehealth services by Kentucky providers to Kentucky residents temporarily located outside the state. It also prohibits out-of-state providers from providing telehealth services to patients who are not permanent residents of Kentucky.
Louisiana Senate Bill 439 – Bridge Year Graduate Physicians – Awaiting Executive Signature
If signed by the governor, this would allow individuals who meet the criteria to practice as a bridge-year graduate physician for no more than three years. The applicant must be a graduate of an accredited medical school that applied but was not accepted into residency training. The board shall determine selection criteria if the number of applications exceeds capacity.
Bridge-year graduate physicians must work under direct supervision and have prescriptive authority for legend drugs and certain controlled drugs. Services provided by such providers shall be compensable per customary billing practices.
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