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Trending in Telehealth: November 8 – 14, 2023

Trending in Telehealth highlights 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:

  • Coverage and Payment Parity
  • Regulatory Licensing
  • Interstate Compacts
  • Medicaid Reimbursement

Finalized Legislation and Rulemaking

  • In Florida, the Florida Board of Psychology issued Rule 64B19-17.002 to revise the disciplinary guidelines for licensed psychologists who commit professional conduct violations. The guidelines provide for first and subsequent offenses committed by licensees, including separate disciplinary consequences for out-of-state telehealth registrants.
  • In Texas, the state’s Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) renewed its e-Health Advisory Committee (eHAC) by final rule. eHAC currently advises the HHSC executive commissioner and health and human services agencies in the state on strategic planning, policy, rules, and services related to the use of health information technology, health information exchange systems, telemedicine, telehealth, and home telemonitoring services. eHAC was set to expire on December 31, 2023, but has now been extended for a two-year period until December 31, 2025.
    Legislation and Rulemaking Activity in Proposal Phase


  • Michigan proposed several bills concerning coverage and payment parity for telehealth services.
    • HB 4580 focuses on coverage parity for telemedicine services in the Medicaid context for the state’s medical assistance program or Healthy Michigan program through amending the state’s Social Welfare Act.
    • HB 4131 aims to amend the state’s insurance code to prohibit health insurance policies from denying or restricting coverage for telemedicine services and to require that telemedicine services be treated the same as in-person medical care.
    • HB 4579 focuses on amending the state’s insurance code to provide coverage parity for services provided via telemedicine.

Why it matters:

  • A push for parity. Michigan’s proposed bills are pushing for coverage parity across insurers and payment parity (i.e., telehealth and in-person services must be reimbursed at equal rates). While coverage parity for private payors is already widespread across most states, there is an ongoing debate as to the benefits and drawbacks of payment parity for telehealth. Some argue that equal reimbursement rates for telehealth results in overuse, or that telehealth services are lower value and/or cause less to administer, thereby warranting the lower reimbursement rate. However, without payment parity, a lower reimbursement rate makes telehealth financially impractical for many providers, particularly those with small practices or who are working in underserved communities. The reduction in telehealth services, in turn, has a negative outcome; without as many options, patients face diminished access to care overall and to provider choice, expertise and quality.
  • Advisory committees can provide state-level oversight to health initiatives. While some states quickly sunset their telehealth advisory councils, others continue to have telehealth and e-health advisory committees and initiatives to guide state programs. Texas’ choice to renew eHAC for another two years signals a [...]

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Trending in Telehealth: April 11 – 17, 2023

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

Trending in the past week:

  • Interstate Compacts
  • Telehealth Coverage and Reimbursement
  • Informed Consent Standards


Finalized Legislation & Rulemaking

  • In North Dakota, HB 1095 was enacted. The legislation requires health carriers to, in part, provide coverage for licensed pharmacists to provide comprehensive medication management, which may be provided via telehealth. North Dakota also enacted HB 1530, which requires that Medicaid cover asynchronous teledentistry.
  • Florida enacted SB 300. The legislation prohibits physicians from using telehealth to provide abortions or prescribe abortion-inducing medication. It also requires the physical in-person presence of a physician with a patient when an abortion is performed or when abortion-inducing medication is dispensed.

Legislation & Rulemaking Activity in Proposal Phase



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Digital Health at Scale: The Payor Perspective

The COVID-19 pandemic has catalyzed efforts by health insurers to expand reimbursement for telehealth services and digital health tools, and develop and invest in their own digital health technology. Health insurers, who increasingly play a hybrid role of payor, innovator and provider, have a vested interest in helping consumers manage chronic diseases and engage in preventive care from home, both during the public health emergency and after.

Joined by leaders from Humana, Oscar, and Medorion, we discussed the role of health insurers in the evolving digital health market, reimbursement pathways for digital tools and innovative partnerships between technology companies and health insurers. Click here to listen to the webinar recording, and read on for highlights from the program.


  • COVID-19 has accelerated the integration of digital health into the traditional health insurance framework. Pre-COVID-19, health insurers were using digital health tools to help their members find providers, access care and manage health conditions. COVID-19 has hastened health plans’ efforts toward vertical integration of digital health technology. Health insurers at the forefront of this effort are focused on creating a consumer-centric, digitally enabled and fully integrated healthcare ecosystem to enhance the member experience, bend the cost curve and carve out an essential (and expanded) role for themselves in the future of healthcare. As consumer behavior continues to change as a result of COVID-19, health insurers will have to be responsive to the way their members are getting care and interacting with the healthcare system.
  • Health insurers are uniquely situated to leverage digital health technologies. Data-driven technology is only as good as the data behind it. Due to the critical role health insurers play in paying for healthcare services, they have insight into member patterns of care and utilization that can be used to target interventions, influence member decision-making and improve health. Investments in digital tools and analytics, as well as strategic partnerships with technology companies, will allow for increased leverage of this valuable data, improved integration of member health information and enhanced member engagement.
  • Interoperability with existing health IT systems is crucial to break down barriers to digital health implementation. Healthcare has been grappling with data interoperability challenges for decades. To scale and make the information from digital tools actionable as part of a larger care plan, digital health platforms must also be interoperable with existing health IT systems. Interoperability will also allow insurers to gather a more complete picture of a member’s longitudinal health data and enable them to better support member health.
  • Health insurers and their legal teams will need to remain nimble amidst the rapidly changing regulatory environment. Keeping up with changing regulations during the COVID-19 public health emergency while planning to scale up in terms of technology implementations is a delicate balance. Though federal, state and local agencies appreciate that digital health tools and telemedicine have much potential in terms of patient care, health insurance companies remain vigilant of privacy and security risks and continue to be constrained in their [...]

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Around the Corner: The Future Of Telehealth After COVID-19

Prior to the pandemic, health providers and stakeholders were quickly moving to develop and expand existing telehealth programs. Now we are seeing an adoption of telehealth solutions that far surpasses all of the activity we saw in the past five years combined.

Joined by leaders from BDO, Babylon Health, Crossover Health and the Illinois Bone & Joint Institute, we discussed what the future of digital provider/patient engagement may look like after COVID-19 and the legal factors that influence implementation. Telehealth is the new normal and there is no turning back.

Bar graph with poll results.


  • There is now recognition that telehealth can, in fact, replace in-person visits in many situations. Patients and healthcare providers have quickly turned to telehealth to provide care for existing and new healthcare conditions during the pandemic. This increase in use has provided additional data demonstrating the value of telehealth. In addition to telehealth visits, patients are looking to patient care navigators and wellness advisors for basic healthcare information that can empower them to manage their healthcare needs before seeking treatment from a licensed healthcare professional.
  • The regulation of telehealth on a state-by-state basis is an ongoing hindrance to telehealth providers in the United States. While the state waivers on professional licensure and care delivery during the COVID-19 public health emergency have temporarily lowered some of these barriers, these waivers have or will soon expire in many states, once again leaving telehealth providers with the burden of developing complex compliance strategies that differ from state to state.
  • For telehealth to achieve its full potential, it needs to be freed from the constraints that apply to in-person episodic care. In doing so, remote monitoring can meaningfully engage patients in real time to actively manage care on an ongoing basis, without interruptions or the need for a pre-scheduled visit.
  • The COVID-19 pandemic is digital health adrenaline – forcing people rapidly and without warning to pivot to telehealth. But when technology works well and effectively, demand will persist well beyond the catalyzing event. If patients receive superior quality care through digital technologies and superior convenience, this improved experience will force the traditional healthcare delivery process to continue its changed approach.
  • The healthcare transactional business model is a challenge that holds back widespread adoption of telehealth. Now that lawmakers have data that demonstrates the value of telehealth, reimbursement codes for different delivery modalities will need to be reevaluated. This reevaluation will future catalyze greater adoption of telehealth by providers as payments will align more appropriately with the services delivered.

For a deeper dive into these topics, please listen to our webinar recording, available here.

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Slow and Steady – CMS Expands Telehealth Reimbursement Opportunities in 2018

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) reiterated its commitments to expanding access to telehealth services and paying “appropriately” for services that maximize technology in the Medicare Program; Revisions to Payment Policies under the Physician Fee Schedule and Other Revisions to Part B for CY 2018; Medicare Shared Savings Program Requirements; and Medicare Diabetes Prevention Program Final Rule published on November 15, 2017 (the Final Rule). Among many other developments, the Final Rule expands allowable telehealth reimbursement under the calendar year (CY) 2018 Physician Fee Schedule, List of Medicare Telehealth Services (list) and permits virtual sessions in certain circumstances under the Medicare Diabetes Prevention Program Expanded Model (MDPP, or the Program). The regulations are effective January 1, 2018.

“New” and “Add-On” Telehealth Services Slated for Reimbursement

CMS evaluates requests for the addition of telehealth services on the basis of two categories: (1) services that are similar to services already on the list and (2) services that are not similar to services already on the list. An evaluation of a category (2) service requires CMS to assess, based on the submission of evidence, whether the use of a telecommunications system to furnish the service “produces demonstrated clinical benefit to the patient.” (more…)

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