WASHINGTON, Aug. 1, 2013—The American Telemedicine Association (ATA) has developed a series of best-practice resources on state Medicaid policy for telehealth applications. The first briefs released cover the areas of remote patient monitoring and home video-conferencing, store-and-forward telemedicine, and school-based telehealth. These resources provide public officials and others offering telehealth services with information and technical assistance regarding state policies affecting the use and deployment of telehealth services.
“Currently, state government is the most active policy arena for telehealth services,” said Jonathan Linkous, Chief Executive Officer of the American Telemedicine Association. “Nineteen states require private insurers to cover and reimburse for telemedicine comparable to that of in-person services. Forty-four states reimburse for telehealth-provided services under their Medicaid plans. ATA’s state telehealth policy best practices are important tools for states to use when considering telehealth’s role to enhance existing payment and delivery models.”
Successfully using telemedicine to improve care, expand access and reduce costs requires an understanding of public policies regulating health care, telecommunications and technology. Laws and regulations about the use of Medicaid, changing provider and medical practice regulations and state policy affecting telecommunications are but a few of the areas under rapid change.
With the support of the Health Resource Services Administration (HRSA), ATA is using approved funds to research and develop these best-practice resources. The information builds on extensive information resources available from ATA, allied organizations and ATA’s extensive network in each state.
To identify the state best practices, ATA has examined enacted laws, published fiscal notes and bill reports, published regulations, and Medicaid provider manual guides for the states with Medicaid coverage in those areas. ATA also reviewed state issued reports and clinical programs demonstrating quality and cost-effective telehealth deployment and utilization. The criteria used to identify states with model policies include:
• Inclusive definitions of technology with little to no restrictions on the types of technology approved for use in a clinical service
• Geographic area served
• Applicable health services and conditions
• Provider eligibility
• Reimbursement methodology
• Level of coverage and affected health care plans.
Other areas of interest still in development include: telemental health, telehealth and high-risk pregnancy, telestroke, managed care, and tele-ICU. For more information visit: http://www.americantelemed.org/get-involved/public-policy-advocacy/state-telemedicine-policy
About the American Telemedicine Association
The American Telemedicine Association is the leading international resource and advocate promoting the use of advanced remote medical technologies. ATA and its diverse membership work to fully integrate telemedicine into healthcare systems to improve quality, equity and affordability of healthcare throughout the world. Established in 1993, ATA is headquartered in Washington, DC. For more information, please visit http://www.americantelemed.org.