With the introduction of Senate Bill 112 and House Bill 12, Kentucky is one step closer to parity for telehealth services.
If passed, the bills, which mirror each other, could open up Medicaid reimbursement and make telehealth more viable for providers across the state. The bill could also restructure the state’s current telehealth resources. Check out a breakdown of the bills’ highlights and what it could mean for the future of healthcare in Kentucky.
More providers could receive payment for services.
Today, there are a lot of restrictions on what Medicaid services can be reimbursed, who can be reimbursed for them and under what conditions. If the new legislation passes, many of these restrictions would be removed. The law doesn’t require the provider to be physically present with the patient unless the provider determines that It’s medically necessary, so more services could potentially be provided through telehealth. The law also removes certain employment status requirements that prevent LCSWs, LSCCs, licensed psychologists, physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech therapists and others from receiving reimbursement.
Distant and originating sites may no longer be required to join the Kentucky Telehealth Network.
Now, to qualify for reimbursement, both sides of a telehealth encounter must belong to the Kentucky Telehealth Network. Since it would be nearly impossible to register each individual patient’s home, work or school location in the network, this has severely limited the reach of telehealth. Removing this requirement opens a world of possibilities and makes telehealth much more convenient and accessible to patients.
Some telehealth services may no longer require prior approval.
Under the current law, certain telehealth procedures and services could require prior approval from the Department of Medicaid Services. The new law would prohibit prior authorization, medical review or administrative clearance if it isn’t also required for an in-person visit.
The Telehealth Board, as it exists now, could be dissolved.
Currently, the Telehealth Board is responsible for establishing and coordinating training centers across the state. It establishes protocol and guidelines to follow and recommends processes and procedures for the running of a telehealth network. The proposed legislation would move oversight of telehealth under the Cabinet for Health and Family Services. The cabinet would be responsible for many of the same responsibilities, but at this point, how the administration of telehealth services would be structured is undefined.
For more information about telehealth legislation or implementing a telehealth program at your practice, contact Nicole Winkleman at email@example.com.