“Rosy Future for Telemental Health:” Insights from EBG 2019 Telemental Health Laws Survey Featured in POLITICO Morning eHealth

POLITICO Morning eHealth

Epstein Becker Green’s 2019 Telemental Health Laws Survey was featured in a POLITICO Morning eHealth article by Mohana Ravindranath. For more information and to read our analysis of regulatory requirements for mental health and behavioral health practitioners, please see our Announcement, “Epstein Becker Green Finds Telehealth Services Are Increasingly Accessible to Mental Health Professionals Despite Legislative Barriers.”

Following is an excerpt:

Spotlight on telemental health: A new survey from Epstein Becker & Green finds that virtual consultations for behavioral health are becoming more common, despite some legislative barriers. …

Rosy Future for Telemental Health — Public recognition for virtual mental health services has “significantly increased,” according to a new analysis and survey from Epstein Becker Green. The opioid package signed last year includes provisions removing Medicare reimbursement restrictions for virtual treatment of substance-use disorders; all 50 states and D.C. provide some Medicaid telehealth coverage, among other signals of potential growth.

...But regulatory barriers persist, the report finds. About a fifth of states lack telehealth parity laws, which would align reimbursement for in-person services with virtual ones. And the Ryan Haight Act, which generally bans clinicians from prescribing controlled substances to patients they haven't met in person, limits the number of patients who can get virtual medication-assisted treatment.

As we reported earlier this week, the latter law may become less of a hurdle. Under the SUPPORT Act, DEA is working on a special registration process for qualified clinicians to prescribe controlled substances virtually to new patients. The agency is expected to pass that along to OMB this week.