Two states--Colorado and Ohio--are proposing changes around the way telehealth services are used and reimbursed.
In Colorado, a pair of lawmakers have proposed a bill that would make it so payers couldn't restrict appropriate telehealth use by requiring an in-person visit. The bill unanimously passed Colorado's House Health, Insurance and Environment Committee and will face a vote in the state's House of Representatives. The bill, which defines telehealth as care delivered via a computer, smartphone or other device, has seen support from various medical groups in Colorado.
“People in rural communities are accustomed to driving long distances for health care, but they shouldn’t be forced to do so if there are other options available. I am pleased this committee unanimously passed this bill that will help rural residents save time and money by utilizing the modern convenience of tele-health care technology," Colorado Rep. Perry Buck said in a statement.
Meanwhile, in Ohio the board of medicine is proposing new regulations that would allow a healthcare provider to prescribe controlled substances over telehealth if they've never conducted a physical medical evaluation. The provider has to complete an evaluation through telehealth that is consistent with a face-to-face evaluation. For uncontrolled substances, the provider will need to have made arrangements, consult with another physician attending to the patient, or if they are the director of a hospice care organization.