Dr. Jim Stimpson, the associate dean for academic affairs and professor at the CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy, along with colleagues recently evaluated telehealth reimbursement policies, and published their findings in Telemedicine Journal and E-health.
Due to the rapid growth and inconsistency of telehealth policy, it is difficult to quantify the impact of telehealth policies without the availability of a legal mapping database.
Dr. Stimpson and his colleagues describe the creation of a legal mapping database of state-level policies related to telehealth reimbursement of healthcare services and present the trends and characteristics of these policies in their recent publication.
The team used information provided by the Center for Connected Health Policy to identify statewide laws and regulations regarding telehealth reimbursement. Other information was retrieved by using: (1) LexisNexis database, (2) Westlaw database, and (3) retrieval from legislative websites, historical documents, and contacting state officials. They examined policies for live video, store-and-forward, and remote patient monitoring.
In the United States, there are 24 states with policies regarding reimbursement for live video transmission. Fourteen states have store-and-forward policies, and six states have remote patient monitoring-related policies. Mississippi is the only state that requires reimbursement for all three types of telehealth transmission modes. Most states (47 states) have Medicaid policies regarding live video transmission, followed by 37 states for store-and-forward and 20 states for remote patient monitoring. Only 13 states require that live video will be reimbursed “consistent with” or at the “same rate” as in-person services in their Medicaid program.
The authors concluded that there are no widely accepted telehealth reimbursement policies across states. There are diverse restrictions and requirements that present complexities in policy evaluation and in determining policy effectiveness across states.