New Telehealth bills and what it means for Home Health Services. Could your state be next?

Sharon Hamilton, MS, RN, NLCPC, CFDS
Clinical Consultant – Briggs Healthcare

Virginia lawmakers, both the House and Senate, have unanimously passed legislation that requires commercial health plans to cover remote patient monitoring services. Virginia Governor Ralph Northam is expected to sign the bill into law soon.Legislation (HB 1970 and SB 1221) defines remote patient monitoring as;

“Remote patient monitoring services’ means the delivery of home health services using telecommunications technology to enhance the delivery of home health care, including monitoring of clinical patient data such as weight, blood pressure, pulse, pulse oximetry, blood glucose, and other condition-specific data; medication adherence monitoring; and interactive video conferencing with or without digital image upload.”

Telehealth services will not eliminate in-person doctor visits all together, but for the rapidly growing geriatric population it can be a game change. Virtual care visits will enable the patient to interact with their physician without the effort it takes to travel and then wait online. For some individuals this type of service will facilitate aging in their home and community. Overall, telehealth can reduce cost, lower the transmission of infectious diseases and promote utilization despite the diminishing physician population.

To learn more about legislative efforts, follow the links below to read the postings by NAHC, Foley & Lardner LLP., or Virginia’s Legislative Information System

https://report.nahc.org/new-telehealth-bills-to-emphasize-insurance-coverage-remote-patient-monitoring/

https://www.healthcarelawtoday.com/2019/02/11/virginia-lawmakers-pass-bill-requiring-insurance-coverage-for-remote-patient-monitoring/

http://lis.virginia.gov/cgi-bin/legp604.exe?191+sum+HB1970