Hawaii Governor Signs Bill to Expand Coverage for Telehealth Services

On July 7, 2016, Governor David Ige (D) of Hawaii signed a bill into law that will expand coverage for telemedicine services as of January 1, 2017. Senate Bill 2395 was the act signed into law, and requires the State’s Medicaid managed care and fee-for-service programs to cover any service provided through telehealth that would be covered if the service were provided through in-person consultation between a patient and a healthcare provider.

In addition, the law states that reimbursement for services provided through telehealth shall be equivalent to reimbursement for the same services provided via face-to-face contact between a health care provider and a patient.  The law also does not require a health care provider to be physically present with the patient at an originating site unless a health care provider at the distant site deems it necessary.  There are also no geographic restrictions or requirements for telehealth coverage and no restrictions on originating site requirements for telehealth coverage or reimbursement.  Moreover, the services provided by telehealth under this law are required to be consistent with all federal and state privacy, security, and confidentiality laws.