Amy Lerman and EBG’s Telemental Health Laws Survey Featured in “OIG to Audit States’ Telehealth Use for Behavioral Health Care”

mHealthIntelligence

Amy Lerman, Member of the Firm in the Health Care & Life Sciences practice, in the firm’s Washington, DC, office, was quoted in mHealthIntelligence, in “OIG to Audit States’ Telehealth Use for Behavioral Health Care,” by Eric Wicklund.

For more information on the firm’s 2018 Telemental Health Laws survey, please see “Epstein Becker Green Finds Increasing Acceptance of Telehealth Services Among Providers and Legislators.”

Following is an excerpt:

Federal investigators are preparing to examine how certain state Medicaid managed care programs are using telehealth to deliver behavioral health services.

The Health and Human Services Department’s Office of the Inspector General announced plans for an audit this week, noting that all 50 states and the District of Columbia now cover some connected health services under Medicaid.

“Limited information is available about how states use telehealth to provide behavioral health services to Medicaid managed care enrollees,” the OIG said in its announcement. …

The primary barrier to state expansion of telemental health services is reimbursement, according to a 2018 report by the law firm of Epstein, Becker & Green. And that’s despite the fact that telemental health is one of the fastest growing segments of the connected health landscape.

“Telehealth is a proactive solution for patients who need quality care from health care providers who may not be located close by or require real-time or after-hours care,” Amy Lerman, a member of the law firm’s Health Care and Life Sciences practice, said in a press release accompanying the survey. “As access to this method of care expands, it also opens the door for various subsets of medicine, including behavioral and telemental health. We are excited to find that it is still evolving, growing, and improving Americans’ quality of life, and we will continue to keep a pulse on the industry to ensure that we capitalize on telehealth opportunities while maintaining compliance with applicable laws.”

However …

“Despite Medicaid’s fewer restrictions on telehealth coverage as compared to its Medicare counterpart, there is limited federal guidance or information regarding the implementation of telehealth services in state Medicaid programs or coverage parameters for states choosing to offer such services,” the attorneys noted in the press release.