Telemedicine rules in the District of Columbia underwent a second round of revisions as the District of Columbia Department of Health issued a new set of proposed rules . The newly-revised proposed telemedicine rules, issued in July, replace the Department’s first draft of telemedicine regulations issued in early 2016, and incorporate comments submitted by a number of telehealth industry advocates. Other than a 2014 policy statement, the D.C. Medical Board’s current laws are silent as to telemedicine practice.
The Ohio Medical Board just published new FAQs and guidance on practicing via telemedicine, addressed to Ohio physicians and physician assistants. The FAQs follow the Ohio rules for telemedicine prescribing of drugs and controlled substances adopted by the Board in March 2017. The guidance should be welcome news to providers who deliver healthcare services via telemedicine. Although frequently referred to as the “telemedicine prescribing” rule, the regulation applies in all situations where the physician or physician assistant is in one location and the patient is in another and the physician or physician assistant has never personally examined the patient.
Telehealth services are now required to be covered by health plans in the Cornhusker State. Nebraska telemedicine providers, entrepreneurs, and patients can enjoy telehealth insurance coverage, joining the national majority. Championed earlier this year by Nebraska Senator Mark Kolterman (R) as LB92 and signed by Governor Pete Ricketts (R) in late April, the new law just recently became effective on August 24, 2017. While the law contains a telehealth coverage provision, it does not require payment parity for telehealth services.
Efforts to replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA) with the Graham-Cassidy legislation were unsuccessful as lawmakers rushed to meet the September 30th deadline when the Senate would have lost its current reconciliation vehicle. Changes to the bill were incorporated in order to gain Republican support from a number of holdouts, but with Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) announcing she will not vote for the current proposal, Senate Republicans conceded today since they were short of the 50 votes required to pass the measure. Senate Republicans are currently discussing potential paths forward, including future reconciliation vehicles that would allow for ongoing efforts to repeal and replace the ACA. Efforts to stabilize the insurance exchanges were thwarted by Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) in order to advance Graham-Cassidy.
Congress is now back in session and, once again, focus has turned to health care. With all eyes on returning health care reform to the forefront, a flurry of activity has sparked new legislative efforts including the introduction of the Graham-Cassidy legislation, Medicare for All, and a Senate Finance Committee agreement to a five year reauthorization of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Here’s a summary of the efforts currently underway for Graham-Cassidy as well as a review of what is included in the bill. Subsequent posts will cover other congressional developments.