Amy Lerman Quoted in “Telehealth Advocates Push for Expanded Use”

MedPage Today

Amy Lerman, a Member of the Firm in the Health Care and Life Sciences practice, in the firm’s Washington, DC, office, was quoted in MedPage Today, in “Telehealth Advocates Push for Expanded Use,” by Joyce Frieden.

Following is an excerpt:

Although much of the healthcare world’s focus is on the fate of the Affordable Care Act, another area of healthcare -- telehealth -- is bubbling along on Capitol Hill.

The use of telehealth -- a term that usually encompasses physician visits via video, home monitoring of vital signs, and remote interpretation of test results using “store-and-forward” technologies -- is being promoted as a way to save time and money for patients and the healthcare system, although some critics say it can actually add costs.

In addition to activity on the federal level, states also are trying to sort out the rules to make telehealth work well, according to Amy Lerman, JD, MPH, an attorney with Epstein Becker Green, in Washington. Lerman and her colleagues recently updated a 2016 report on state laws governing telemental health, “and of all states we’ve looked at, only two states -- Connecticut and Massachusetts -- had material that hadn’t changed. So that says something.”

Lerman said she expects two areas to get more legal traction from states in the future: reimbursement issues and remote prescribing. Reimbursement is “a barrier to providers for providing these services. Many providers are trying to do it on a cash basis and charge people out-of-pocket, and certainly there’s a market for that, but how sustainable is that as a business model?”

As for remote prescribing, “states are still figuring out how to put parameters in to allow physicians and others to prescribe safely and effectively via telehealth.” One barrier to prescribing remotely is the Ryan Haight Act, which prohibits providers from prescribing remotely unless the patient has had a previous in-person visit. “That doesn’t lend itself to the model people are trying to fit themselves into today,” said Lerman.