As states face health care services shortages, state
legislature are turning to telehealth to help alleviate the problem. The most
common telehealth policies that arise include establishing the definition and
scope of telehealth practice allowed in the state and providing for parity in
health insurance coverage, requiring insurers to provide equal coverage to
telehealth visits as if the service had been provided in person.
Five states passed legislation related to telehealth
- Arizona SB 1282, an omnibus dentistry
bill, was signed by the governor. It specifically defines “teledentistry” as
well as the scope of teledentistry practice. Further, it provides for insurance
coverage of teledentistry. The bill also expanded the role of dental assistants
and clarified affiliated practice regulations.
- Arkansas Act 887 was signed by the
governor on April 2, 2015. It encourages the use of telemedicine and directs
state licensing boards to allow health care professionals to engage in
telemedicine. Further, it requires health plans to cover telemedicine services
on the same basis as in-person services.
- Colorado HB15-1029 was signed by the
governor. It requires health insurers to cover telemedicine similarly to
- Tennessee governor signed HB 0699 on April 24, 2015. The
measure defines the scope of telemedicine practice. It also disallows licensing
boards from enacting more restrictive standards on telehealth than statutorily
- Washington governor signed SB 5175 on April 17, 2015. The
bill requires parity in health insurance coverage of telemedicine care. In
Washington, the Medical Quality Assurance Commission created guidelines
defining the scope of telehealth and its regulation. This bill provides for health
insurance coverage of telehealth-provided services.
Many other states continue to consider
- Minnesota HF 1246 (companion SF 981) would require health,
including dental, plans to provide coverage for covered services provided via
telemedicine. Additionally, the bill provides for reimbursement for both the
on-site provider and the distant provider. HF 1246, as well as the companion bill, are
pending in committees.
- The Illinois House is considering a resolution to create the Telehealth
Services Committee to explore the effectiveness of telehealth. A public hearing
will be held on May 19, 2015.
- Missouri HB 319 was passed by House and
had a hearing in the Senate. It addresses the technology used and subsequent patient
data safety concerns. The bill would create the Telehealth Services
Advisory Committee to propose rules regarding “store-and-forward technology” as
well as which health care professionals are authorized to engage in telehealth
(including supervised dental hygienists).
- Nevada AB292 would require parity in
health insurance coverage for telehealth services. The measure passed the
Assembly and was referred to the Senate. A public hearing was held on May 8, 2015,
and the Senate Committee
on Commerce, Labor and Energy recommended passage. On May 17, the full Senate passed the bill 21-0.
- The Rhode Island legislature declined
to make a decision on a telemedicine health insurance coverage measure. They held the bill and
called for further study.