California bill proposes same reimbursements for telehealth appointments as in-person

A California bill would increase telehealth access to all state residents by requiring health plans to reimburse providers for appointments that produce the same effect whether completed in person or via video conferencing, Government Technology reports.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom has until Oct. 13 to sign the bill, which passed with 79 votes in the California Assembly Sept. 13. The bill did not receive any votes against it.

The bill updates telehealth definitions and contracting laws to ensure people have access to healthcare regardless of where they reside in the state, according to the report.

While it received no opposition last month, health plans were reportedly concerned the bill would limit rate negotiations with providers. The legislation has since been "amended to clarify that it does not set rates unless the exact same in-person service is being conducted remotely," the publication reports.

If the bill is signed into law, California residents would not experience its affects until Jan. 1, 2021, once health plans and providers issue, amend or renew contracts.

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