6 states that have waived telehealth restrictions during coronavirus pandemic

Various states have moved to expand telehealth services during the coronavirus pandemic, including some of the hardest hit with cases such as New York and California.

In the COVID-19 pandemic, 14,250 American cases have been reported, along with 205 deaths. Globally, 246,275 cases and 10,038 deaths have been reported, as of 8:45 a.m. CDT, March 20.

In response to the coronavirus pandemic, the Trump administration this week announced that CMS will begin temporarily paying clinicians to provide telehealth services for Medicare beneficiaries across the country.

Here are six states that have recently ordered telehealth services to be expanded amid the coronavirus outbreak:

1. New York. The state's health department approved telephone and virtual care services for Medicaid beneficiaries beginning March 13. Medicaid will now reimburse telephone-based evaluations and management services for patients when in-person visits are not medically recommended.

2. California. Under the state's emergency services act, all Medicaid Medi-Cal managed care health plans must allow members to use telehealth throughout the pandemic. Medi-Cal plans must reimburse providers for telehealth services at the same rate of in-person visits.

3. New Jersey. Gov. Phil Murphy on March 19 signed legislation that will expand telehealth services across the state and allow professional licensing boards to expedite licensing of out-of-state professionals. Under the law, the state can waive any requirements that prevent healthcare providers from offering telehealth services throughout the duration of the coronavirus pandemic.

4. Illinois. Gov. J.B. Pritzker on March 19 issued an executive order that relaxed rules around telehealth coverage for both Medicaid and private insurers. Plans regulated by the department of insurance are now required to reimburse providers at the same rate which they are reimbursed for in-person visits and prevents health insurers from imposing any cost-sharing for in-network providers. Medicaid plans also now require providers to be reimbursed at the same rate for in-person visits.

5. Massachusetts. The state's Medicaid plans are now required to offer beneficiaries telehealth services when medically necessary.

6. Texas. Gov. Greg Abbott approved the state's request to temporarily suspend an administration code that prevents or delays medical services. The suspension, which is in effect until terminated by the governor's office, allows telehealth technology to be used for diagnosis, treatment, test orders and prescribing conditions.

More articles on telehealth:
New York hospital creates telehealth command center
Providence sees 20 to 30-fold jump in virtual visits, shuts down MyChart scheduling: 5 tech observations from the frontlines
AMA: 5 tips for medical practices to expedite telemedicine services during COVID-19 pandemic

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