HIV Specialist - March 2021 - 20

All Good
News for
Telehealth?

O

BY: Joseph C. Kvedar, MD
N NEW YEAR'S DAY, Massachusetts Governor

Charlie Baker signed into law a healthcare
reform bill that is a metaphor for the state
of telehealth. The American Telemedicine
Association (ATA) has plenty to be pleased with in the final
legislation. The law requires that payers doing business in the
state, including Medicaid, reimburse for behavioral telehealth
visits the same way they cover in-person care and mandates
rate parity for two years for primary and chronic illness
management.

Ten days later, New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced
legislation to expand and improve access to telehealth. According
to a statement issued by Governor Cuomo's office, this legislation
includes " comprehensive telehealth reform to help New Yorkers take
advantage of telehealth tools and address key issues such as adjusting
reimbursement incentives to encourage telehealth, eliminating outdated regulatory prohibitions on the delivery of telehealth, removing
outdated location requirements, addressing technical unease among
both patients and providers through training programs, and establishing other programs to incentivize innovative uses of telehealth. "
Texas Governor Greg Abbott recently outlined his healthcare priorities for 2021, recognizing telehealth as an important tool to extend
quality care, and also made the expansion of broadband access an
emergency item this session.
Nearly 40 states currently have pending telehealth legislation,
which will determine whether or not patients will continue to
have access to essential telehealth services after the public health

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MARCH 2021

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emergency expires. It is critically important
for states across the country to act as soon
as possible this year to ensure telehealth
remains available to all, wherever and whenever it is needed.
Likewise, on the federal level, President
Biden has already indicated support for telehealth and is focused on expanding access to
virtual care services for underserved populations to address health inequities. For example,
Biden's administration will likely support the
idea that broadband infrastructure alone will
not be enough for parity in digital health. But we
also anticipate that there will be some things
that remain in question, like payment parity.
The ATA recently expressed strong
support of the Protecting Access to PostCOVID-19 Telehealth Act of 2021, which was
reintroduced by telehealth champions on
the Congressional Telehealth Caucus. This
bipartisan bill would permanently ensure access to telehealth after the COVID-19 public
health emergency by eliminating restrictions
on telehealth in Medicare beneficiaries and
requiring a study on its use during the pandemic. This bipartisan bill, first introduced
in July 2020, is an important step towards
breaking down discriminatory geographic
restrictions and includes four major and vital
provisions to ensure all Medicare beneficiaries continue to have access to important
telehealth services:

ISTOCK/ UNITON3VECTOR; SHUTTERSTOCK/ PIXELLIEBE


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HIV Specialist - March 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of HIV Specialist - March 2021

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https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/AAHIVM/hiv-specialist-march-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/AAHIVM/G121337_AAHIV_122020
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/AAHIVM/G119632_AAHIV_092020
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/AAHIVM/G118334_AAHIV_062020
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/AAHIVM/G116663_AAHIVM_032020
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