Thanks to Susan Lontine, Faith Winter, and Cleave Simpson HB21-1256, Delivering Healthcare Through Telemedicine became law 5/11/2021.
HB21-1256 states that in-person contact between a health care provider (medical or mental health) and the patient is not required. The bill also promotes funding for and lays the groundwork for rules and policies regarding the structure and future of telemedicine (how it is billed, its relationship with insurance, etc.).
What does this mean?
As a patient, you can now officially contact and receive health care services without having an in-person visit for treatment that does not require an in-person visit. This is not new, but it is now formalized. If your provider needs to physically assess you (look in your ears, listen to your lungs, draw blood), you still need to go in person. This bill is a win for mental health services as many times, the provider simply needs to lay ideas on you and have a conversation.
As a provider, several changes are at play. More rules are coming your way regarding billing and insurance. This is not necessarily a bad thing. The way billing for ICD-10 and CPT codes will expand, allowing you to appropriately charge for your time with your patients; You may be able to work from home and eliminate your commute; your ability to reach a larger network of patients may expand, providing you the ability to increase access to care to the underserved and rural communities.
What’s the big deal?
Although the increase in Zoom calls, and remote business meetings have exponentially increased over the last 18 months, telemedicine itself is not a new conversation. The benefits of utilizing remote healthcare services and its impact on reducing health care costs have been well documented. This bill is a big deal because it formalizes the process, thereby laying the groundwork for future innovation. As research continues, many changes in telemedicine will continue to occur, which will ultimately increase access to care, improving public health in the U.S.
Thanks for reading.
Cory Peticolas RN BSN CEN.
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