• Spotlight on Telemedicine
  • January 19, 2016 | Author: Grace D. Mack
  • Law Firm: Wilentz, Goldman & Spitzer P.A. - Woodbridge Office
  • Telemedicine is here to stay in 2016 and continues to be a rapidly evolving area of health law. Specifically, as of December, 2015:
    • 48 states have adopted formal state definitions of telemedicine services;
    • 29 states have enacted laws requiring insurers to pay for telemedicine;
    • 11 states enacted legislation adopting the Federation of State Medical Boards’ (FSMB) Interstate Medical Licensure Compact; and
    • 9 additional states have introduced legislation seeking enactment of the FSMB Compact.
    The FSMB Compact provides for an expedited licensure process for eligible physicians and is meant to improve license portability and increase patient access to care. Many states have also adopted a national model policy that allows patients to establish relationships with a healthcare provider through a videoconference rather than an in-person meeting.

    New York Embraces Telemedicine

    Early in 2015, Governor Cuomo signed into law legislation allowing certain licensed health providers in New York to be reimbursed for live video/audio, store-and-forward, and remote patient monitoring from private insurers. Under the new law, private insurers are required to cover services via telemedicine if provided by hospitals, home care and hospice agencies, licensed physicians, PAs, dentists, nursing, midwives, podiatrists, optometrists, ophthalmic dispensers, psychologists, social workers, or speech language pathology and audiologists. Budget withstanding, the law also authorizes the Medicaid agency to expand coverage and reimbursement of telemedicine.

    Governor Cuomo also signed a law last month that adds licensed physical and occupational therapists to the list of telehealth providers eligible for reimbursement under the state’s parity law. The latest changes are timely as the new law goes into effect January 1, 2016.

    New Jersey Trails Behind In Addressing Telemedicine.

    Although several bills have been proposed, New Jersey is one of only two states in the nation that has yet to address the definition of telemedicine services. Senator Joseph F. Vitale, who recently convened a Senate Health committee hearing on telemedicine last week, indicated there is broad agreement that there needs to be “an organized process” for regulating telemedicine in the state. That process includes defining what services telemedicine covers and how payment should be made for telemedicine services. Vitale said he would like to have bills addressing telemedicine early in the legislative session that starts in January 2016.

    Please check back in 2016 for updates and new advancements in this burgeoning area of the law in New Jersey and elsewhere