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24 States Require Healthcare Services Received Via Telemedicine Be Reimbursed Same as In-person Services.

Healthcare given via telemedicine will be paid similarly to the physical doctor visits in 24 states as reported by the American Telemedicine Association during its annual meeting. Reasonable progress has also been observed in telehealth regulations over the last six months.

During its annual conference in Los Angeles this week, the ATA announced that 24 states including Washington, D.C. have endorsed equality laws obliging similar coverage of and payment for services offered via telemedicine akin to in-person services by state-accepted private insurance policies, state worker medical programs, and Medicaid. Last September three more states had similar laws in operation.

Pediatrician James McElligott the medical director for telemedicine at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) Health said in an interview that in South Carolina Ninety percent of the private insurance is Blue Cross Blue Shield and they had each year made little or no progress in telehealth payment with this being the reason they will not go the parity legislation way.

Medicare payment for telehealth services, the only type not covered by the ATA investigation, is a still a challenge to states with a particular kind of topography, for instance, South Carolina.

According to Mark Lyles the MUSC which is operated and owned by South Carolina State, was still able to acquire over $31 million in the face of these hardships in two years time to craft a statewide telemedicine scheme. Lyles is the MD and chief strategic officer at the clinical enterprise of MUSC. MUSC then procured complementary funding from the Duke Endowment and others; Lyles told an ATA meeting.

Lyles further added that they are presently engaging with key lawmakers to escape from the one-time apportionment procedure, which makes it difficult to plan for the future and as a result they are soliciting for some of the future aid to be integrated into the base budget.

The report of ATA Coverage and Reimbursement ranked Rhode Island and Connecticut at the bottom. The Report evaluates telemedicine implementation for each state in the U.S. based on 13 pointers. Ever since the release of the initial in September 2014, the District of Columbia and five other states have maintained the very high composite score signifying an obliging strategy landscape that promotes telemedicine acceptance while Mississippi and Maryland have dropped from an ‘A’ to ‘B’ owing to further constraints being placed on telemedicine coverage in their Medicaid system.

The report had discrepancies from the preliminary report released in September. With procedure modifications made to house out-of-state physician-to-physician discussions via telehealth, the only state that improved from ‘A’ was Massachusetts. Twenty-two other states received the maximum composite grade, which implies that an exceedingly encouraging policy landscape is present in these states for adoption and usage of telemedicine.

Idaho, West Virginia, and The District of Columbia dropped from an ‘A’ to ‘B’ in ATA ratings owing to the formation of new telehealth clinical practice rules in their states. Alabama is joined by Texas as the only two states with the slightest composite score, ‘C,’ due to adjustment of telemedicine policies.