Delaware latest state to re­quire pay­ment for telemedicine

Modern Healthcare - - REGIONAL NEWS -

Delaware has be­come the 29th state to re­quire health in­sur­ers to pay for telemedicine af­ter the state’s gover­nor ap­proved an up­dated law reg­u­lat­ing the vir­tual healthcare ser­vices. But some say the leg­is­la­tion lacks a dis­tinc­tion that could di­min­ish the cost-sav­ing ben­e­fits of tele­health.

Demo­cratic Gov. Jack Markell signed leg­is­la­tion defin­ing state reg­u­la­tions sur­round­ing telemedicine and pro­hibit­ing in­sur­ers from en­gag­ing in dis­crim­i­na­tory prac­tices against providers who use telemedicine to de­liver care.

Mario Gu­tier­rez, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the Sacra­mento, Calif.-based Na­tional Tele­health Pol­icy Re­source Cen­ter, had some con­cerns about the law’s dif­fer­en­ti­a­tion be­tween telemedicine and tele­health, the lat­ter be­ing the use of tech­nol­ogy for so­cial ser­vices, re­mote pa­tient mon­i­tor­ing and other non­clin­i­cal pro­ce­dures. The reg­u­la­tion is some­what con­fus­ing be­cause it de­fines tele­health as dif­fer­ent from telemedicine, but doesn’t ap­pear to of­fer pro­tec­tions for tele­health tasks, he said. Most states have en­acted laws that cover both telemedicine and tele­health, he said.

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