Epstein Becker Green’s 2021 Telemental Health Laws survey of state telehealth laws, regulations, and policies within the mental/behavioral health practice disciplines (and corresponding app available for iPhoneiPad, and Android devices), was featured in Healthcare IT News, in “Analysis Finds Uptick in Telehealth Fraud Enforcement,” by Kat Jercich. Amy Lerman, co-author of the survey, discusses the upsurge of telehealth services and increased legislative focus on risk and compliance throughout COVID-19, and more.

Following is an excerpt:

A survey put forward by the national healthcare, life science and workforce management law firm Epstein Becker Green found that telemental health services have increased in quantity this year – as have fraud-related enforcement actions at the state and federal levels.  

"These enforcement actions demonstrate that the telehealth industry should not only consider the law from a policy and operations perspective, but should also invest in a robust compliance infrastructure," wrote report authors in the 2021 Telemental Health Laws Survey analysis.  

Why It Matters

The report noted that more frequent fraud has driven law enforcement agencies to crack down on medical providers who are accused of abusing the system.  

For instance, it cited efforts this year from the U.S. Department of Justice to address $143 million in telehealth-related false billing and to target defendants for allegedly participating in various healthcare fraud schemes.   

It also pointed to actions taken by the Center for Program Integrity against more than 50 medical providers for alleged schemes relating to Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services programs.  

"Also in September, the [Office of Inspector General] reported that more than 20 states noted fraud, waste, and abuse as a 'concern' specific to telehealth," read the report. "Furthermore, the OIG recognized that some states do not have the resources to protect healthcare organizations against fraudulent schemes."  

The report authors also took a deep dive into telemental health developments across the country.  

"By the end of 2021, many states will have revoked temporary states of emergency that include telehealth policy adjustments," they observed.   

They continued, "However, these states are activating more permanent laws to provide patients and providers the option to continue with telehealth services and increase patient engagement."

Analysts highlighted several policy trends, including:  

  • Professional licenses, with many joining compacts that make it easier for healthcare professionals to practice in other states
  • Prescription practices, such as allowing physicians to prescribe non-controlled substances remotely
  • Patient privacy and confidentiality, aimed at ensuring patients' privacy while using telecommunications with healthcare professionals  

"Now more than ever, legislators are under immense pressure to manage the flexibilities granted in response to the COVID-19 pandemic which increased patient access to telehealth services exponentially," said Amy Lerman, a member of the firm in Epstein Becker Green’s Health Care and Life Sciences practice, in a statement accompanying the survey.  

For more information and to read our analysis of regulatory requirements for professional mental/behavioral health practitioners and stakeholders seeking to provide telehealth-focused services, please see our 2021 Executive Summary and the firm’s latest press release, and download the complimentary app ꟷ available for iPhoneiPad, and Android devices.

The survey is co-authored by Amy Lerman and Francesca Ozinal and the following attorneys and contributors from EBG’s Health Care and Life Sciences team: Attorneys Alexis Boaz, Audrey Davis, Vidaur Durazo, Daniel Fahey, Jacqueline Frazer, Priya Kaulich, Devon Minnick, Lauren Petrin, Olivia Plinio, Matthew Sprankle, Christopher Taylor, and Bailey Wendzel; Law Clerks Nija Chappel, Julianna Dzwierzynski, Chloe Hillard, and William Walters; and 2021 Summer Associates Kayla Oakley and Timothy Rozier-Byrd.

Jump to Page

Privacy Preference Center

When you visit any website, it may store or retrieve information on your browser, mostly in the form of cookies. This information might be about you, your preferences or your device and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to. The information does not usually directly identify you, but it can give you a more personalized web experience. Because we respect your right to privacy, you can choose not to allow some types of cookies. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings. However, blocking some types of cookies may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer.

Strictly Necessary Cookies

These cookies are necessary for the website to function and cannot be switched off in our systems. They are usually only set in response to actions made by you which amount to a request for services, such as setting your privacy preferences, logging in or filling in forms. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not then work. These cookies do not store any personally identifiable information.

Performance Cookies

These cookies allow us to count visits and traffic sources so we can measure and improve the performance of our site. They help us to know which pages are the most and least popular and see how visitors move around the site. All information these cookies collect is aggregated and therefore anonymous. If you do not allow these cookies we will not know when you have visited our site, and will not be able to monitor its performance.