Tag Archives: telehealth

Texas and Telehealth: New Bill Would Remove Toughest Hurdle For Practitioners

Texas and Telehealth: New Bill Would Remove Toughest Hurdle For PractitionersIn recent years, Texas has served as ground zero for a number of the most contentious legal battles surrounding telehealth. This week, State Senator Perry Schwertner, the chairman of the Committee on Health and Human Services, submitted a bill signifying progress for telemedicine and telehealth providers looking to practice in the Lone Star State. The bill, S.B. 1107, would remove one of the toughest hurdles for telemedicine and telehealth practitioners – the face-to-face meeting requirement. Providers would be able to provide services to, and establish physician-patient relationships with, Texas residents through either a synchronous audio-visual interaction or via store-and-forward technology and an audio-only interaction, without ever having to meet the patient in real life. The bill would require the practitioner to use the relevant clinical information required to meet the same standard of care as practitioners providing in-person services.

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Telehealth Private Pay Reimbursement: The Real Numbers

stethescopeAs you all know, the subject of telehealth reimbursement continues to vex the community. For example, Medicare lags far behind.  According to the Center for Telehealth and eHealth Law, Medicare reimbursed approximately $14 million total under its telehealth benefit for 2014.  This represents less than .0025 percent of the total Medicare reimbursed for services that year.  Medicaid is something of a mixed bag with the vast majority of states providing some coverage for telehealth, but many lagging in coverage and reimbursement for store-and-forward services and remote patient monitoring. Generally speaking, private payers have been ahead of the curve with the majority of states having parity laws in place requiring insurers to cover telehealth services in many circumstances.

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The Telehealth Outlook for 2016

International TelemedicineAs 2015 winds down, I think it is safe to say that it has been a whirlwind year in telehealth.  According to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), over 200 telehealth-related bills were introduced in 42 states.  The Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) has launched an interstate physician licensure compact that creates a new pathway to expedite physician licensure in multiple states.  Twelve states (with Wisconsin being the latest) have so far enacted the licensure compact.  Many states such as Colorado, Iowa, and Louisiana released regulations or policies that in my view took a more progressive approach to telehealth regulation. 

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New AHRQ Research Report Sheds Some Light on Telehealth

Research_HeroOne of the issues with which we often grapple in the telehealth space is the relative lack of availability of studies and data when compared to other areas of the health care sector.  Telehealth is relatively young and therefore has not had the time to build a voluminous body of data and evidence.  But things are changing.  Many stakeholders are doing exemplary work in telehealth research, and stakeholders like the Department of Veterans Affairs have longstanding evidence regarding the efficacy of telehealth.  However, it’s a more recent document that has caught my attention. 

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Recent Telehealth Survey: Providers Are Catching On

EHRA recent survey conducted by the Robert Graham Center, the American Academy of Family Physicians, and Anthem caught my attention. The survey was conducted to gauge the attitudes of primary care physicians regarding telehealth.  And the results make for interesting reading— providing great insight into how certain providers view and use telehealth. What struck me most is that while great progress has been made in the rate of telehealth adoption among providers, we still have a way to go. According to the survey report, state legal and regulatory issues, reimbursement, and provider training and education continue to be serious barriers to wider adoption of telehealth.  And until the landscape evolves to address these barriers, telehealth adoption is likely to stagnate despite the great promise of telehealth holds as a tool to improve quality and access.

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FSMB Releases Revised Draft Framework for Interstate Physician Licensure

One of the largest hurdles to the growth of telehealth—the lack of a streamlined process for obtaining physician licensure in multiple states—is one step closer to being scaled. The Federation of State Medical Boards (“FSMB”) recently released a revised draft of its Interstate Medical Licensure Compact (“Compact”), which is designed to facilitate physician licensure portability and the practice of interstate telehealth.

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Physician Licensure Compact and the Future of Telemedicine

A significant barrier to the interstate practice of telehealth is closer to being broken down. The Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) has completed and distributed a draft Interstate Medical Licensure Compact, designed to facilitate physician licensure portability that should enhance the practice of interstate telehealth.  Essentially, the compact would create an additional licensing pathway, through which physicians would be able to obtain expedited licensure in participating states.  As the FSMB notes in its draft, the compact “complements the existing licensing and regulatory authority of state medical boards, ensures the safety of patients, and provides physicians with enhanced portability of their license to practice medicine outside their state of primary licensure.”  This is a potentially significant development because burdensome state licensure requirements have been a major impediment to the interstate practice of telehealth. A physician practicing telehealth is generally required to obtain a medical license in the state where the patient—not the physician—is located.  As a consequence, physicians wishing to treat patients in multiple states need to obtain a license in each of those states in order to practice medicine lawfully, a lengthy and expensive process.

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Draft Framework for Interstate Medical Licensure Compact Released

A significant barrier to the interstate practice of telehealth is closer to being broken down. The Federation of State Medical Boards (“FSMB”) recently completed and distributed a draft Interstate Medical Licensure Compact (“Compact”), which is designed to facilitate physician licensure portability and the practice of interstate telehealth. The Compact would create an additional licensure pathway through which physicians would be able to obtain expedited licensure in participating states. As the FSMB notes in the draft, the Compact “complements the existing licensing and regulatory authority of state medical boards, ensures the safety of patients, and provides physicians with enhanced portability of their license to practice medicine outside their state of primary licensure.”

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ILN Today Post

Legal Position concerning Telemedicine in India

The World Health Organization (“WHO”) defines Telemedicine as “The delivery of healthcare services, where distance is a critical factor, by all healthcare professionals using information and communication technologies, for the exchange of valid information for diagnosis, treatment and prevention of disease and injuries, research and evaluation, and for the continuing education of healthcare providers, all in the interests of advancing the health of individuals and their communities”.

Despite the concept being recognized and defined by WHO and its spreading influence over the past decade, there is no legislation which singularly deals with the practice of Telemedicine in India.

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Privacy & Security Concerns in Telehealth: Ensuring Legal Compliance in Hospital-Based Practices

Below is a re-print of an article that we recently wrote for the Advisory Board Company’s 2013 third quarter General Counsel Agenda. To view the original publication in the General Counsel Agenda, click here.

For hospitals, the promise of telehealth has spurred innovation across multiple service lines and led to the emergence of a number of new delivery models such as telestroke, teleradiology, telepsychiatry, telepathology, teleICU and remote patient monitoring.  While many of these programs are leading to significant improvements in access to health care services, quality of care, and efficiencies, they often also raise their own distinct set of compliance challenges, particularly in the area of privacy and security.

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