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Trending in Telehealth: June 6 – 12, 2023

Trending in Telehealth is a new series from the McDermott digital health team in which we highlight state legislative and regulatory developments that impact the healthcare providers, telehealth and digital health companies, pharmacists and technology companies that deliver and facilitate the delivery of virtual care.

Trending in the past week:

  • Telehealth pilot programs

A CLOSER LOOK

Finalized Legislation & Rulemaking

  • Nebraska enacted LB 227, which amends the definition of the “practice of dietetics and nutrition” to include telehealth services.
  • Nebraska enacted LB 50, which requires the state court administrator to create a pilot program to use physical space and information technology resources within Nebraska courts to serve as points of access for virtual behavioral health services for individuals at court. The pilot program is intended to provide access to confidential, reliable and safe behavioral health treatment via telehealth for individuals involved with the criminal justice system as defendants, probationers or victims in criminal proceedings.
  • Nevada enacted AB 432, which amends state optometry laws to establish requirements for synchronous and asynchronous optometry telemedicine and remote patient monitoring in optometric practice. The law imposes an established patient requirement for certain optometric telemedicine services, meaning that an optometrist must have conducted an in-person “comprehensive evaluation” of the patient within two years before the date of the service. Exceptions to the comprehensive evaluation requirement include synchronous services where the performing optometrist has access to records of a comprehensive examination conducted by another optometrist and certain limited asynchronous evaluations solely to determine whether a comprehensive evaluation is necessary. The law permits optometrists with out-of-state licenses to conduct the limited asynchronous services without a Nevada license. Finally, the law specifically imposes the comprehensive exam requirement with respect to patients who are located outside of the state and are treated by optometrists licensed in Nevada.
  • Oregon enacted SB 232, which allows out-of-state physicians or physician assistants who are not licensed in Oregon to provide care to patients located in Oregon, specifically when the out-of-state physician or physician assistant has established a provider-patient relationship with the patient in Oregon temporarily for the purpose of business, education, vacation or work and such patient requires direct medical treatment by the out-of-state physician or physician assistant. Out-of-state physicians or physician assistants may also provide care for patients with whom they have an established provider-patient relationship to provide temporary or intermittent follow-up. The law further clarifies that the practice of medicine using telemedicine occurs where patient is physically located.

Legislation & Rulemaking Activity in Proposal Phase

Highlights:

  • Connecticut progressed SB 1075 in the second chamber. The legislation would require the state’s Department of Public Health to establish, in collaboration with a hospital in the state, a Hospice Hospital at Home pilot program to provide hospice care to patients in the home through a combination of in-person visits and telehealth. If passed, the law would require the Department of Public Health to create [...]

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False Claims Act Settlement with eClinicalWorks Raises Questions for Electronic Health Record Software Vendors

On May 31, 2017, the US Department of Justice announced a Settlement Agreement under which eClinicalWorks, a vendor of electronic health record software, agreed to pay $155 million and enter into a five-year Corporate Integrity Agreement to resolve allegations that it caused its customers to submit false claims for Medicare and Medicaid meaningful use payments in violation of the False Claims Act.

Read the full article.




End of Year Attention to Health IT and Digital Health Tools in 21st Century Cures

On December 7, 2016, the US Congress approved the 21st Century Cures Act (Cures legislation), which is intended to accelerate the “discovery, development and delivery” of medical therapies by encouraging public and private biomedical research investment, facilitating innovation review and approval processes, and continuing to invest and modernize the delivery of health care. The massive bill, however, also served as a vehicle for a variety of other health-related measures, including provisions relating to health information technology (HIT) and related digital health initiatives.  President Barack Obama has expressed support for the Cures legislation and is expected to sign the bill this month.

The HIT provisions of the Cures legislation in general seek to:

  • Reduce administrative and regulatory burdens associated with providers’ use of electronic health records (EHRs)
  • Advance interoperability
  • Promote standards for HIT
  • Curb information blocking
  • Improve patient care and access to health information in EHRs

As public and private payers increasingly move from fee-for-service payments to value-based payment models, with a focus on maximizing health outcomes, population health improvement, and patient engagement, HIT—including EHRs and digital health tools—will be increasingly relied upon to collect clinical data, measure quality and cost effectiveness; assure continuity of care between patients and providers in different locations; and develop evidence-based clinical care guidelines.

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