Where the US stands on telehealth coverage: 16 states that let orders expire or kept expansions

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As public health emergency orders continue to lift across the U.S., several states have halted telehealth coverage or introduced new legislation to keep virtual care provisions intact. 

Here are 16 states with emergency orders that ended or will end soon and how they are approaching telehealth coverage. 

1. Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey passed a proclamation by the governor, renewing the state of emergency on Aug. 13, according to an Aug. 24 JD Supra report.

2. Alaska's medical licensing waivers ended when the governor's emergency order stopped, which has limited Alaska patients' ability to get care via telehealth, according to a June 26 KTOO report. When the pandemic began, the Alaska Legislature passed a bill that allowed out-of-state physicians to treat patients in Alaska through telehealth.

3. Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson passed an executive order July 29 that renewed the state of emergency for an additional 60 days, JD Supra reported.

4. California Gov. Gavin Newsom inked an executive order to extend the provisions of a prior order that expanded telehealth by allowing healthcare providers to conduct virtual appointments without the risk of penalty. The new order is set to expire when the state of emergency ends or if the original order is rescinded or modified.

5. Delaware Gov. John Carney issued a declaration Aug. 10 to extend the public health emergency, which will now have to be renewed every 30 days, JD Supra reported.

6. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis' executive order declaring a public health emergency expired June 26, cutting off flexibilities for telehealth across the state. As of June 26, telephones are no longer covered as an acceptable platform to deliver telehealth services to non-Medicare patients in Florida, and physicians cannot use telehealth to prescribe controlled substances to existing patients for treating chronic nonmalignant pain. 

7. Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed a new law July 22 that permanently expands telehealth provisions made during the COVID-19 pandemic to be covered through 2027. Under the law, payers must reimburse telehealth visits at the same rate as in-person visits. 

8. Iowa released regulations for virtual services as it solidifies telehealth's permanent role in treating Iowans, JD Supra reported Oct. 6. Some of the regulations include technology requirements and practices to safeguard patient privacy and an informed consent process prior to the telehealth appointment.

9. Maine Gov. Janet Mills' COVID-19 pandemic state of emergency order ended July 1. While the order expanded the use of telehealth services, a bill approved June 21 allowed the telehealth services to continue permanently and set new licensing standards, the Bangor Daily News reported. 

10. Maryland Gov. Lawrence Hogan issued a declaration July 12 that extended the public health emergency, JD Supra reported.

11. New Mexico Gov. Michelle Grisham issued an executive order Aug. 16, which extended the public health emergency, JD Supra reported.

12. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo rescinded the executive order declaring the public health emergency that expanded telehealth offerings June 25. However, until the federal public health emergency order expires, New York residents can still receive coverage for virtual care offerings.

13. Ohio's pre-COVID-19 legislation was set to expire Sept. 17, News 5 Cleveland reported. The medical board decided to extend the date until Dec. 31. In-person patient requirements will resume for specific situations Jan. 1.

14. Tennessee passed an executive order Aug. 6 that temporarily allows telephone assessments to be used, when telehealth is not available, to issue a certificate of need for the emergency involuntary commitment of a person with a mental illness or serious emotional disturbance.

15. Virginia's telehealth flexibilities ended June 30 when the state's public health emergency ended, according to DCist. The order expanded telehealth access across the state.  

16. Wisconsin will transition to permanent telehealth coverage policies Jan. 1. Until then, providers can submit claims under the temporary or permanent billing guidelines. Services that have been rendered not equivalent in effectiveness when performed virtually, compared to in-person, will no longer be covered. After the Jan. 1 deadline, only services listed as permanent will be reimbursed when provided virtually, and temporary billing guidelines will end.

 

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