The American Telemedicine Association (ATA) last week released two new reports looking at telemedicine coverage, reimbursement, and physician standards across all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
The first report identified gaps in coverage and reimbursement by comparing telemedicine adoption across all states. For the first time since the ATA began doing these studies in 2014, all Medicaid agencies cover some form of telemedicine in every state. The report also finds Medicaid increasingly covering telemedicine for dental services, substance abuse treatment, and counseling.
The report also found that seven states–Connecticut, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Rhode Island, Utah, and West Virginia–have improved their coverage and reimbursement since 2016, while two states–Delaware and South Carolina–have lowered telemedicine coverage.
“There is promising news overall for patients, providers, and businesses using telemedicine and other digital health platforms,” said Latoya Thomas, director of the State Policy Resource Center at ATA. “These reports show that insurers, state lawmakers and Medicaid agencies see telemedicine, and other digital health platforms, as affordable and convenient solutions to bridge the provider shortage gap and enhance access to quality health care services.”
The ATA’s second report looked at physician practice standards and licensure by reviewing state laws and medical board standards. Overall, states are removing certain restrictive requirements and encouraging telemedicine as a good way to deliver medical services. One example is allowing health care providers more opportunities to practice telemedicine across state lines–a previously difficult act. In this arena, three states–Arkansas, Florida, and Louisiana–have made great strides, while Texas continues to get the lowest grade in the nation in this category.
“As Federal and state lawmakers re-evaluate the current health policy environment, they cannot ignore telemedicine’s potential as a valuable and cost-saving tool,” said Gary Capistrant, chief policy officer at ATA.