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Trending in Telehealth is a new weekly series from the McDermott Digital Health team where we track telehealth regulatory and legislative activity. Each week, we will highlight developments impacting healthcare providers, telehealth and digital health companies, pharmacists and technology companies that deliver and facilitate the delivery of virtual care.
Trending this week:
- Provider license
- Definitions of telehealth
- Telebehavioral health
A closer look:
- Illinois passed emergency amendments to the Telehealth Act and other statutes that expand the ability of certain out-of-state providers to provide reproductive care via telehealth in the state.
- Massachusetts’ The Department of Medical Assistance finalized regulations that change definitions for diagnostic, case consultation, and treatment services (beginning on page 139) and establish requirements for licensed independent clinical social workers (LICSWs) to enroll as MassHealth providers and use telehealth of LICSWs (starting on page 309).
- Oregon adopted a rule that clarifies that acupuncturists can provide telemedicine services.
- Alaska proposed a rule that would change the educational requirements for a professional counselor license, requiring at least three of the hours to be in telehealth. This is added alongside the existing professional ethical requirements and new additions of cultural competence and suicidality.
- Florida proposed updates to disciplinary rules for those licensed under the Florida Board of Osteopathic Medicine. The new rules include penalties for failing to identify to patients the type of license the physician is practicing under, expanding the state’s existing rules imposing penalties related to care provided through telehealth.
- Texas proposed three rules regarding behavior analysts’ use of telehealth, as a result of a four-year rule review conducted by the Texas Department of Licensing & Regulation. These proposed regulations establish requirements for behavior analysts’ use of telehealth to deliver care and align definitions with telehealth regulations for other providers. The public comment period for all three rules ends on February 5, 2023.
- Wyoming proposed a rule that would change standards of practice for occupational therapy. This includes clarification regarding the requirement that occupational therapists and occupational therapist assistants hold a Wyoming license to provide services to a patient in Wyoming, including treatment delivered through telehealth technologies, at the time of the services. The public comment period ends on March 5, 2023.
Highlights for the industry:
- Illinois has expanded the possibility of treating patients via telehealth. Through amendments to the Illinois Administrative Procedure Act, the Telehealth Act, and the Medical and Nurse Practice Acts, the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) may adopt an emergency rule to grant a temporary license to certain out-of-state physicians. , physician assistants and nurse practitioners who meet certain conditions and possess qualifications that mirror those required for licensed providers in Illinois. Providers with a temporary permit are allowed to provide care to a patient in Illinois via telehealth technologies without seeking full licensure. This change was part of a bill that updated other laws related to reproductive health, but appears to extend beyond reproductive care and is approved under emergency authority. If not renewed, the IDFPR’s authority to grant temporary permits expires after one year.
- Texas proposed regulations indicate that the state is working to adapt definitions of telehealth across different regulations. If adopted, these revisions will provide much-needed continuity across different provider types in addition to streamlining licensing processes for the respective state agencies through the removal of outdated language in the application provisions.
- Activity in Texas, Massachusetts and Alaskaall indicate the increase in attention to telebehavioral health. This coincides with an increase in behavioral health coverage, particularly by Medicaid programs, across many states, a trend seen in 2022.
Telehealth is an important development in the delivery of care, but the regulatory patchwork is complicated. The McDermott Digital Health team works with industry-leading providers, payers and technology innovators to help them enter new markets, break down barriers to delivering accessible care and reduce enforcement risk through proactive compliance. Are you working to make healthcare more accessible through telehealth? Let us help you transform telehealth.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the topic. Specialist advice should be sought regarding your specific circumstances.
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