New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into a law that requires insurers to offer the same reimbursement to patients who get services via telehealth and telemedicine as if it were done in person.
The parity law makes New York the 22nd state to enact a commercial telemedicine statute. The bill, sponsored by New York Senator Catharine Young (R), ensures that insurers will not only cover telemedicine and telehealth, but that deductibles, co-insurance or other conditions for coverage of telemedicine will not differ from those conditions applicable to in-person service. The law retroactively took place on Jan. 1, 2015, although Nate Lackman, a Tampa-based health care lawyer and partner at Foley and Lardner, LLP writes in a blog that insurance policies will not take place until later this year with companies updating their policies.
The law distinguishes telemedicine and telehealth. The latter is more focused on remote -monitoring devices and the former is using video conferencing services to make an assessment. This is important, Lackman writes, because it's not clear if insurers will be required to cover telehealth services that are not covered under the plan as in-person services. Remote-monitoring doesn't always lead itself to in-person visits, he notes.
According to the American Telemedicine Association, Missouri and a few other states are considering enacting a parity law of their own in the coming months.
Eleven private insurers, including Aetna, Humana and Anthem, are urging the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) to consider the experience of commercial insurers when evaluating the impact of telemedicine coverage in Medicare.
With the aim of improving patient safety monitoring, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is currently developing and testing an improved patient safety surveillance system.
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is awarding $210 million to Seattle-based University of Washington’s Population Health Initiative, with the funds going toward the construction of a new building to serve as the initiative’s hub.
More than half (56 percent) of healthcare professionals believe their organization could be doing more to educate employees on HIPAA compliance and the rules around sharing protected health information.
The Arnhold Institute for Global Health at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai is partnering with DigitalGlobe to create the Health Equity Atlas Initiative (ATLAS), a platform that standardizes and maps population data in order to generate insights that address health inequities.