Stethoscope and gavel

Year in Review: 2017 Telemedicine Legislation

Over the last year, 63 pieces of telemedicine legislation focusing on telemedicine were approved in 34 states, according to the Center for Connected Health Policy. These bills facilitated multi-state medical licenses, defined terminology, and established care standards, among other issues. Some of the most impactful legislation includes:

  • The Interstate Medical Licensure Compact welcomed Maine, Nebraska, Tennessee, and Washington, bringing the total to 22 states that actively support multi-state licensing. Two states have delayed implementation, while four others have legislation pending.
  • In Maryland, practice standards for teletherapy were established, and a new law requires all insurers to reimburse for substance abuse counseling conducted through telemedicine.
  • In New Hampshire, Medicaid reimbursement was expanded to include telemedicine providers located in metropolitan areas.
  • In New York, the list of originating sites for telemedicine services enlarged to include child care centers, schools, adult homes, assisted living facilities, and senior living centers. Tennessee lawmakers also required insurers to cover school telemedicine services.
  • In Oklahoma and West Virginia, lawmakers established standards or directed the medical board to develop standards for the physician-patient relationship for providers who use telemedicine.
  • In Texas, practitioners can now establish a physician-patient relationship with a new patient via telemedicine, and Medicaid must now reimburse for telemedicine services provided by occupational therapists, social workers, licensed counselors, and speech language pathologists. Other legislation requires reimbursement for telemedicine services provided to schools.
  • In Vermont, providers must now obtain written or oral consent from the patient before using telemedicine, and neither party can record the telemedicine visit.
  • In Washington, the definition of an originating site for telemedicine was expanded to include “any location determined by the individual receiving the service,” giving patients the ability to access telemedicine services in their homes.

To read more about telemedicine legislation that passed or was proposed in 2017, visit mHealthIntelligence here.

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