Reports: Telehealth Regulations, Licensing Practices Vary by State

May 4, 2015 in News

Two new reports from the American Telemedicine Association that grade states based on their telehealth regulations and practices find a lack of consensus among lawmakers on telehealth policy, MedCity News reports.

Details of Reports

The reports were updates to analyses from last year on states’:

  • Telehealth coverage and reimbursement policies; and
  • Physician practice standards and licensure (Seper, MedCity News, 5/4).

ATA CEO Jonathan Linkous in a release said, “As a result of state actions across the nation, ATA re-evaluated the indicators for each state and issued new reports.”

The report on coverage and reimbursement compared telehealth adoption among all states and Washington, D.C., based on 13 indicators. Meanwhile, the second report examined state laws for licensure and medical board standards for physician groups.

Linkous said, “[W]e anticipate that these reports will serve as an incentive to increase the utilization of telemedicine to improve the accessibility, affordability and quality of health care.”

Coverage and Reimbursement Report Findings

Since the last report, just five states and Washington, D.C., have maintained top scores for policies that encourage telehealth adoption:

  • Maine;
  • New Hampshire;
  • New Mexico;
  • Tennessee; and
  • Virginia.

The lowest-scoring states were Connecticut and Rhode Island.

Meanwhile, Maryland and Mississippi both dropped from an “A” to “B” grade because additional telehealth restrictions were added under their Medicaid programs.

Standards and Licensure Report Details

The standards and licensure report found that 22 states received the highest-possible score, suggesting an “extremely supportive policy landscape” regarding telehealth adoption and use in those states.

The lowest-scoring states were Alabama and Texas, which both received a “C” for revisions to their telehealth clinical practice policies.

Meanwhile, Idaho, West Virginia and Washington, D.C., all dropped from an “A” to “B” grade because each imposed new clinical practice policies (ATA release, 5/4).

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