On October 13th, Governor Newsom signed six telehealth-related bills that will impact telehealth expansion throughout California. Among the signed bills is A.B. 744, which requires telehealth payment parity for commercial payers by January 1, 2021. Newsom also signed A.B. 1264, which allows providers to use telehealth to conduct examinations prior to prescribing, dispensing or furnishing drugs so long as the examination meets the standard of care. This strengthens the legal foundation needed to ensure the growth of telehealth to provide t right care at the right time in the right place.
This week’s Round Up highlights seven telehealth-related bills that have made their way from the California state legislature to Governor Newsom’s desk where they are awaiting his signature or veto by October 13th.
In addition to establishing payment parity for telehealth, these bills establish and extend telehealth’s use and reimbursement. For example, if signed by the Governor, one bill will reimburse telehealth for delivering healthcare in emergency situations and another will allow its use for prescribing medications.
August 30th CA Senate Appropriations hearing will be crucial to moving telehealth-related bills forward.
HHS Office of Inspector General to audit behavioral health in Medicaid managed care.
Presidential candidates touting rural telehealth and broadband for expanded health care.
DHCS releases revised Medi-Cal Telehealth Provider Manual, which includes coverage of e-consults.
California bills focused on telehealth coverage face a hearing in Senate Appropriations on August 12th for analysis of their fiscal impact.
CMS plans to expand Medicare telehealth benefits and increase health information exchange support.
Virtual care continues to gain attention across the country as more states enact payment parity laws. Most recently, Maine’s Governor Janet Mills signed a payment parity bill, making Maine the third state to adopt telehealth payment parity in 2019.
For years, telehealth was the focus of litigation between the Texas Medical Board and Teladoc targeted at online prescribing regulation, administrative rulemaking procedures and accusations of anticompetitive behavior. In fact, until 2017, Texas required an in-person visit to establish a patient-provider relationship. Flash forward to 2019, however, and the state has passed several telehealth-related bills that now bring telehealth’s benefits to children’s mental health, members of Medicaid managed care plans and behavioral healthcare delivery.