Washington state lawmakers have passed two new bills which help expand telehealth services state wide. The first, HB5386, will establish a telemedicine training program covering issues such as licensing, liability, informed consent, and training on how to use technology. Telehealth providers would be required to complete this certification every four years. If signed into law, WA would be the first state to implement and mandate a telemedicine training program.
The second bill, HB5387, would enable healthcare providers using telemedicine to extend the physician’s privileges to the health system in which the patient is located, provided both locations agree to the service.
Both bills were submitted by State Sen. Randi Becker, who said ““This is a first in the nation, this training program that we’re putting in place along with the ease of credentialing for providers providing services through telemedicine. These are phenomenal improvements to our health care system.”
The bills have been sent to Gov. Jay Inslee for signature. Read more at mHealthIntelligence.
US News just released a summary of a study done by FAIR Health which looked at telehealth trends based on insurance claims in the year 2017. Here are some of the highlights:
- In the single year from 2016 to 2017, telehealth usage as measured by claim lines grew 53 percent – a rate greater than for any of the other venues of care studied.
- Telehealth has been growing more rapidly in urban areas than in rural areas. The rural increase in telehealth claim lines from 2012 to 2017 was 482 percent, compared with an increase in urban areas of 1,289 percent. From 2016 to 2017, rural growth was 29 percent and urban growth 55 percent.
- In 2017, the top five states for telehealth claim lines as a percentage of all medical claim lines were Oklahoma, Wyoming, Ohio, Hawaii and West Virginia, in order from most to least. None of those states were among the top five in 2016
- The bottom five states in 2017 for telehealth claim lines as a percentage of all medical claim lines, in order from least to most, were New Jersey, Rhode Island, Nebraska, Connecticut and South Dakota.
- Telehealth was most associated with individuals ages 31 to 60, who accounted for 44 percent of the reimbursement claims in 2017.
The Georgia state Senate passed two bills today (SB115 and SB118) as part of their comprehensive healthcare reform aimed at reducing costs, increasing access, and enhancing quality care for Georgia residents.
SB 115 allows for physicians outside of Georgia to be licensed as a telemedicine provider by the Georgia Composite Medical Board. This should improve access to Georgia residents in underserved communities by increasing the pool of available providers.
SB118 is a comprehensive reform of Georgia’s previous telehealth act. The bill updates the law in an effort to increase the prevalence of telehealth for a broader array of services, as well as ensuring parity in insurance reimbursement for telehealth and in-person care.
This is great news for residents of Georgia, as well as the telehealth industry in general!