A recent report by the Center for Connected Health Policy highlights 11 pieces of telehealth legislation across nine states that will be implemented in 2018. It has been a productive year for states advancing telehealth initiatives with many making clear definitions of telemedicine and telehealth. States also set standards for the appropriate use of telemedicine; addressed insurance coverage of telemedicine; and the classification of telehealth visits as a means of alternative access standards.
Telehealth is a focus of HIMSS’ advocacy activities—one of the HIMSS 2017 Congressional Asks urges Congress to take action to modernize the Medicare program by removing barriers to the use of telehealth and other innovative healthcare technologies, such as remote patient monitoring.Moreover, states also demonstrated support for innovative uses of the technology such as California AB 401, which sets requirements for registered pharmacy technicians working at a remote dispensing site. Additionally states supported expansion to behavioral health and telephychiatry. For example, Colorado SB 2017 develops a behavioral health crisis response system and mobile response units that can make use of telehealth. Further, Illinois set a new policy that stipulates a physician or healthcare professional does not have to be physically present in the same room as the patient for the whole time that the patient is getting telepsychiatry services. Progress in the field of teledentistry was also realized with Oregon SB 786, which will allow dental care providers access to telehealth services where applicable and within their range of services.
The full list of legislation to be implemented in 2018 can be found here.