Legislative Update

Many legislative bodies are approaching the midpoint of their legislative sessions and telehealth has been on the agenda in all three states in HTRC’s coverage area. The list below provides updates on telehealth-related legislation.

Last month KanTel members presented to the Kansas House Committee on Health and Human Services in support of insurance parity bill House Bill 2206. The bill was later referred to a working committee and KanTel now plans to present an educational session for the committee this summer.

Oklahoma legislators have been considering several pieces of legislation related to telehealth. House Bill 1580, now dormant until 2018, would have required insurance companies to reimburse at the same rate for telehealth services as for in-person services. This bill was requested by the Telehealth Alliance of Oklahoma and the Oklahoma Hospital Association.

An AARP requested bill, House Bill 1893, sought reimbursement parity for remote telemonitoring. Currently the bill is still “alive” but is likely to be amended significantly and eliminate parity language. Instead, plans for a pilot program are being considered. The pilot would be administered through Oklahoma’s Medicaid administrator, the Oklahoma Health Care Authority and would test the cost effectiveness of remote patient monitoring.

Another bill to watch, Senate Bill 726 was submitted by direct-to-consumer company, Teladoc, and would alter the definition of telehealth, among other changes.

Finally, House Bill 1390, if enacted, could impact the Oklahoma Universal Services Fund (OUSF). OUSF, among other things, subsidizes the cost of broadband for health care facilities providing telehealth. The bill would reallocate funding from OUSF to 211, a Federal Communications Commission service for the public to access health-related information by phone.

One proposed Missouri bill, House Bill 939, would create a task force to review the scope of practice for advance practice nurses. The use of telehealth for nurses and their collaborating physicians to communicate would be included in the study. The bill has been referred to the Professional Registration and Licensing Committee.

This list is not exhaustive. For questions about legislation in your state, please contact HTRC at 877-643-HTRC.

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