Telehealth expansion, Telehealth coverageWhile in-person care was restricted for safety reasons, the public health emergency (PHE), governments issued numerous waivers to extend telehealth coverage to make healthcare available. Several states have discontinued telehealth coverage or launched new laws to keep virtual care provisions intact as public health emergency orders continue to lift around the United States. In TBHI’s previous article Telehealth Coverage Update: 7 States Announce Changes to Telehealth Reimbursement Post-COVID, the initial seven states (Illinois, Maine, New York, Alaska, Florida, Virginia, Wisconsin) announces decisions regarding the future of telehealth coverage.TBHI is pleased to update you about 6 more States approving telehealth expansion

Recently Approved State Announcements of Telehealth Coverage

Few states mentioned below have extended their PHE and telehealth coverage to ensure telehealth remains a feasible healthcare service option in the future.

Alabama

To accommodate the growing number of patients in hospitals as well as to ensure the safety and protection of other people.Gov Kay Ivey passed a proclamation on August 13, 2021, announcing the renewal of the state of emergency and order regarding the continuation of telehealth expansion. The proclamation will remain effective during the PHE unless it is canceled or extended by subsequent notice. According to the governor, Employees of the state of Alabama who are obliged to provide emergency health care or mitigation services away from their home base of operations will be reimbursed for actual expenditures spent while delivering services on behalf of the state.

Arkansas

On July 29, 2021, the governor of Arkansas passed proclamation 21-14, renewing the statewide health emergency and resuming the telehealth services for the next two months. The  Governor explained that the federal government and emergency services are obligated to use all available resources to provide hospitals with appropriate facilities to satisfy the healthcare requirements of Arkansans by expanding telehealth services.

Delaware

 In Delaware, Gov. John Carney passed an extension of the public health emergency declaration on August 10, 2021, which will be renewed every 30 days. As a result, residents will be allowed to seek and receive telehealth coverage until the state-wide public health emergency order is lifted or expires.

Maryland 

Gov. Lawrence Hogan of Maryland issued a proclamation on July 12, 2021, to extend the PHE and order the telehealth expansion. The Secretary’s orders will remain in effect until further notice. The services provided through telehealth will be reimbursed on the same basis and at the same rate as if the health care service were delivered in person. The governor also mentioned that the patients in rural or urban areas should not be distinguished for telehealth coverage while receiving the health care services delivered through telehealth.

New Mexico

On August 16, 2021, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signed an executive order, 2021-049, which prolonged the statewide public health emergency. The PHE will remain in effect until September 15, 2021, unless renewed, amended, or canceled. It also ensured that residents of New Mexico would have access to telemedicine, teletherapy, and telehealth services until the health crisis order is rescinded or expires. To keep informed about new developments, sign up for TBHI weekly newsletter.

Tennessee

Tennessee passed an executive order on Aug. 6, 2021, extending the PHE and expanding the telehealth services till October 5, 2021. The governor permits the telephone evaluations to provide a certificate of need for the emergency involuntary commitment of a person with a mental illness or alarming emotional disturbance when telemedicine is unavailable.

As TBHI Telehealth.org noted in The Future of Telehealth, Teletherapy, and Telemedicine, the next year could bring significant changes for telehealth coverage and telehealth reimbursement in the United States. Stay tuned to TBHI’s weekly newsletter to keep up-to-date on this fast-moving legislative horizon. If you haven’t yet registered for TBHI’s Telehealth News, please register for one or more Telehealth.org newsletters here.

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Introduction to Telehealth