ATA Finds Some States Falling Short on Telemedicine Policies

September 10, 2014 in News

On Monday, the American Telemedicine Association released two state policy reports on telemedicine that identify shortfalls in practices nationwide, FierceHealthIT reports.

States were assigned letter grades — A through F — based on their telemedicine policies.

Details of Coverage, Reimbursement Report

One report analyzed coverage and reimbursement standards (Dvorak, FierceHealthIT, 9/9).

Overall, seven states scored an A for payment and service delivery policies that support adoption of telemedicine:

Connecticut, Iowa and Rhode Island had the most significant barriers to advancing telehealth and scored the lowest in the report (FierceHealthIT, 9/9).

The report found that 21 states have telehealth parity laws for private insurance, but 29 states received a failing grade for having no such law in place.

Meanwhile, the report found that 47 state Medicaid programs at least partly covered telemedicine (ATA report [1], 9/8).

Details of Physician Practice Standards, Licensure Report

The second report analyzed and compared physician practice standards and licensure regulations for telemedicine.

The report found that for practice standards:

  • 23 states received an A; and
  • 1 state — North Dakota — received a failing grade (FierceHealthIT, 9/9).

The report noted that the results indicate “telemedicine utilization had been met with a mix of strides and stagnation in state-based policy” (ATA report [2], 9/8).

Meanwhile, no state received an A for interstate licensure policies for telemedicine, likely because of other restrictive policies that hinder practicing medicine across state lines, according to FierceHealthIT (FierceHealthIT, 9/9).

ATA Comments

In a release, ATA CEO Jonathan Linkous said, “We hope these reports serve a dual purpose: to showcase the states that are doing an excellent job when it comes to telemedicine and to serve as a wake-up call to those who are failing to extend quality and affordable care to the residents of their state.”

He added, “We hope that states will respond by streamlining policies to improve medical practice rules, licensure, health care quality and reduce costs through accelerated telemedicine adoption” (McCann, Healthcare IT News, 9/10).

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