Washington, DC (PRWEB) July 16, 2013
The American Telemedicine Association (ATA) applauds the state governments of Kentucky and Missouri for recently enacting policies that expand coverage of telemedicine services within their jurisdictions. In doing so, Kentucky and Missouri are joining a growing list of states that are realizing the benefit of telemedicine as a cost-effective delivery model for quality healthcare.
“This is a true win-win scenario,” said Jonathan Linkous, Chief Executive Officer of the American Telemedicine Association. “First, it is a big victory for patients in Kentucky and Missouri, who now have greater access to the best-possible healthcare. It’s also a win for the treasury and taxpayers in those states, who will save significantly on public healthcare costs.”
The two states have taken different approaches to expand access to telemedicine services. Kentucky has incorporated telemedicine into its Medicaid services, while Missouri has passed a state-wide insurance parity mandate for telemedicine.
Kentucky issued final rules expanding coverage of telehealth-provided services for Medicaid beneficiaries. Although providers are still limited to using only interactive video-conferencing to qualify for reimbursement, Medicaid beneficiaries will have access to a broader list of providers and telehealth-provided services including a variety of physical and mental health evaluations, counseling and remote disease monitoring.
Missouri passed a state-wide parity law (HB 986) for private insurance coverage of telemedicine, making it the nineteenth state to do so. The bill, SB 262, was introduced earlier this year by National Organization of Black Elected Legislative Women (NOBEL) member and Senator Kiki Curls and received overwhelming bipartisan support. The newly enacted law requires private insurers to reimburse healthcare providers for telehealth-provided services on the same basis as they would for in-person services. The law also prohibits private insurers from denying coverage of telehealth-provided services.
“While states and private payers are making big strides forward to improve access to care and reduce costs, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services are still dragging their feet,” said Linkous. “The federal government places unnecessarily strict barriers and restraints on how Medicare patients are served when they deserve access to quality healthcare, regardless of geographic location and technology used.”
ATA and its members work to monitor state telehealth activity and highlight best policy practices to improve coverage, access and reimbursement for telehealth-provided services. By partnering with organizations such as the NOBEL, ATA has worked to eliminate regulatory barriers to telehealth and increase state-level support of telemedicine. For more information on state-by-state telemedicine policy, please visit:http://www.americantelemed.org/get-involved/public-policy-advocacy/state-telemedicine-policy.
The American Telemedicine Association is the leading international resource and advocate promoting the use of advanced remote medical technologies. ATA and its diverse membership, works to fully integrate telemedicine into transformed 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 visit: http://www.americantelemed.org.
Via @AmericanTelemed - States are leading the charge for #telemedicine expansion. It’s time for the Feds to catch up. http://ow.ly/mZjJp.