Recent Blog Posts
- Telemental Health Laws – 2019 Survey and App Update Released I’m pleased to announce that we’ve released the 2019 update of our Telemental Health Laws survey. Now in its fourth year, the survey covers state telehealth laws, regulations, and policies within mental health and is available as a complimentary app for iPhone, iPad, and Android devices.
Please see our full announcement detailing milestones achieved in 2019, current barriers, and opportunities for 2020 and beyond: “Epstein Becker Green Finds Telehealth Services Are Increasingly Accessible to Mental Health Professionals Despite Legislative Barriers.”
Also see our Telemental... More
- CMS Seeks to Improve Patient Care and Decrease Costs for Emergency Transportation by Implementing New Medicare Payment Model On February 14, 2019, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (“CMS”) announced the Emergency Triage, Treatment and Transport reimbursement model (the “ET3 Model”), a demonstration project that aims to provide improved flexibility to ambulance crews addressing 911-initiated emergency calls for Medicare beneficiaries.
CMS plans to release its Request for Applications (“RFA”) to solicit participation in the ET3 Model from Medicare-enrolled ambulance providers and suppliers in the summer of 2019. The ET3 Model start date is anticipated for January 2020 for... More
- OIG Evaluates Remote Patient Monitoring Arrangement The Office of Inspector General (“OIG”) for the Department of Health and Human Services recently issued an Advisory Opinion that provides insight into how the agency evaluates arrangements that deal with the integration of technology, medicine, and patient monitoring under the federal Anti-Kickback Statute (“AKS”). In Advisory Opinion No. 19-02, OIG evaluated whether a pharmaceutical manufacturer could temporarily loan a limited-functionality smartphone to financially needy patients enrolled in federal health care programs. OIG concluded that the proposed arrangement could violate... More
- Remote Prescribing Trends in Telehealth The telehealth industry has experienced constant developments in the regulatory landscape at both the federal and state level over the past several years, and we are confident these changes will continue into 2019 as the utilization of telehealth services continues to evolve and mature. A notable area of activity is how regulators are approaching the telehealth industry, in particular remote prescribing applications of this platform.
On the federal level, we should expect to see promulgation of regulations by the U.S. Drug... More
- The SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act: Expanding Medicare Coverage of Telehealth Services to Combat the Opioid Crisis The SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act (“the Act” or “the SUPPORT Act”), signed into law by President Trump on October 24, 2018, is intended to combat the growing opioid crisis in the United States. The Act aims at preventing opioid addiction and misuse and enhancing access to care for those who have substance use disorders.
A key aspect of the Act is the expanded Medicare coverage of telehealth services to beneficiaries in their home (see Section 2001 of the Act).... More
- Will Federal Special Registration Exception Preempt More Stringent State Rules on Remote Prescribing of Controlled Substances? The Ryan Haight Act Online Pharmacy Consumer Protection Act of 2008 (21 U.S.C. § 802(54)) (the “Ryan Haight Act” or “Act”) expanded the federal Controlled Substances Act to define appropriate internet usage in the dispensing and prescribing of schedule drugs, and in doing so effectively banned the issuance of prescriptions via telemedicine services for any controlled substances unless the ordering physician has conducted at least one in-person evaluation of the patient. The Act includes multiple exceptions that permit prescribing of controlled substances without conducting... More
- Law Urging DEA to Promulgate Rules for “Special Registration” Likely This Summer At first blush, the passage of House Bill 5483, entitled the “Special Registration for Telemedicine Clarification Act of 2018” (the “Bill”), appears to address the issue concerning the lack of regulatory guidance regarding the “Special Registration” exception to the Ryan Haight Act of 2008; however, a deeper and more careful analysis reveals that the Bill may not be as effective as most health care practitioners may hope. The Bill, sponsored by Rep. Carter (R-Georgia), a pharmacist, Rep. Bustos (D-Illinois), and... More
- VA Leads in Changing the Telehealth Landscape Effective June 11, 2018, all Department of Veterans Affairs (“VA”) health care providers will be able to offer the same level of care to all beneficiaries regardless of the beneficiary’s or the health care provider’s location. In its recently released final rule, the VA stated that in December 2016 Congress mandated that the agency provide veterans with a self-scheduling, online appointment system, and that the agency meet the demands for the provision of health care services to veterans, regardless of... More
- OIG Finds CMS Overpayments for Telehealth Services The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Inspector General (OIG) recently released a report revealing that during OIG’s 2014 and 2015 audits of telehealth claims, more than half of the professional telehealth claims paid by the Medicare program did not have matching originating-site facility claims.
According to the report, Medicare telehealth spending increased from $61,302 in 2001 to $17,601,996 in 2015. Among the 191,118 Medicare paid distant-site telehealth claims (totaling $13,795,384), the OIG randomly sampled 100 of those... More
- MACPAC Offers Reserved But Positive Outlook on Telehealth’s Integration Into Medicaid Program In March 2018, the Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission (MACPAC) made its 2018 report to Congress, which included the Commission’s evaluation of telehealth services provided through the Medicaid program. Chapter 2 of MACPAC’s report had a positive outlook on telehealth’s contribution toward better accessibility of health care services to underserved individuals as well as individuals with disabilities.
Unlike its larger counterpart, Medicare, federal policy has not placed many restrictions on state Medicaid programs in terms of adopting or designing... More