When discussing the issues surrounding telemedicine, parity law is an ongoing fight for some states trying to integrate telehealth into their healthcare legislation. Parity law is the insurer being held responsible for reimbursing patients who participate in telemedicine appointments just as they would with a physical office visit. As of now, there are just twenty states that will reimburse for home telehealth and thirteen that will reimburse for remote patient monitoring services.
Progress is being made, however, in establishing parity law for telemedicine. The American Telemedicine Association’s (ATA) monthly webinar titled This Month In Telemedicine, featuring CEO of ATA, Jonathan D. Linkous and Senior Director of Public Policy, Gary Capistrant, provided the following updates for ongoing telehealth bills:
- A bill in Hawaii that would expand their parity law to additional healthcare providers has passed through the senate and is currently being sent over to the House for review.
- Maryland is close to ratifying a bill that implements parity law for Medicaid which has been reviewed and passed through both the Senate and the House. The final stages requires crossover within the state chambers to exchange the bill so it can officially be passed.
- Mississippi was successful last year in implementing parity law for commercial insurance, Medicaid, and state employee benefits for telehealth. Senator Terry Burton who lead last year’s successful legislation is now continuing with the bills “store-and-forward” and “remote patient monitoring” that have recently passed through the House and Senate and been officially signed as of March 19th.
Jonathan Linkous reached out to members of the medical community during the webinar to encourage them to utilize this law once it is in effect within their state. One of the biggest issues facing parity law, once established, is proper implementation. Although the law is official, there is no immediate guarantee that the medical professionals or patients will file the appropriate insurance clams. In order to further the success of parity law within the states who have implemented it, it needs to be utilized by both parties. This is instrumental in the success of the law. “The money is there, now you’ve got to go get it, ” says Linkous.
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