Rhode Island Telemedicine Subcommittee Makes Recommendations for Future of Telemedicine Policy

A subcommittee under the Office of the Health Insurance Commissioner in Rhode Island has released recommendations regarding the future of telehealth in their state. The group included a broad range of stakeholders representing primary and specialty care providers, hospital systems, community health centers, and insurers among others. The group was tasked with making recommendations on potential revisions to telemedicine policies to support the State’s COVID-19 response and for how to improve telemedicine as a convenient, cost-effective, accessible, and equitable option for patients and providers in Rhode Island over the long term. Recommendations include:

  • Audio-only telemedicine should be covered on a permanent basis when the service is clinically appropriate to be provided using that mode of delivery, as determined by the insurer.

  • Cost-sharing for telemedicine visits should not exceed cost-sharing for in-person visits.

  • There should be no limitations on patient location (originating site) for telemedicine.

  • Prior authorization requirements for telemedicine should be no more stringent than prior authorization requirements for in-person care.

  • Insurers should not be allowed to impose restrictions on which provider types can render services via telemedicine while still allowing insurers to determine what services are clinically appropriate to deliver via any telemedicine modality.

  • To ensure health equity and reduce disparities in access to telemedicine services, the State should pursue specific activities, such as address broadband access and digital literacy needs. See report for complete list.

  • Telemedicine behavioral health services should be paid at the same rate as in-person visits regardless of modality, so long as the modality is clinically appropriate. There was no consensus on non-behavioral health services.

For more information, see the complete report.

credit: Center for Connected Health Policy

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