To date, 34 states (including D.C.) have adopted Medicaid expansion. Of the remaining 17 states, some are considering expanding Medicaid. States with recent activity relating to Medicaid expansion include Florida, Idaho, Maine, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Utah, and Virginia.  Last week, Virginia became the latest state to expand Medicaid and also tied a Medicaid work requirement to the expansion. California is also exploring expanding Medicaid to undocumented adults.

Below we have highlighted recent state grassroots, legislative, and executive action to expand Medicaid. Continue Reading A Rundown of Recent State Action Relating to Medicaid Expansion

Last week, the Florida Senate Health Policy Committee removed language from proposed telehealth legislation that would require Medicaid reimbursement for telemedicine services at the same rates as face-to-face examinations. Disagreements over compensation for telemedicine services were a major sticking point and a key reason a telemedicine bill did not pass the Florida Legislature last year. The revised bill defines telehealth as the use of synchronous or asynchronous telecommunications to perform services that include, but are not limited to:

  • Patient assessment;
  • Diagnosis;
  • Consultation;
  • Treatment;
  • Monitoring;
  • Transfer of medical data; and,
  • Provision of patient and professional health related education.

Explicitly excluded from the definition of telehealth are audio-only transmissions, email messages, or facsimile transmissions. A telehealth provider is prohibited from solely using telehealth to prescribe lenses, spectacles, eyeglasses, contact lenses, or other optical devices or prescribe based solely on the use of a computer-controlled device such as an autorefractor. Additionally, controlled substances may not be prescribed through telehealth for chronic non-malignant pain, but a physician may use telehealth to order a controlled substance for an inpatient admitted to a licensed hospital or to a hospice patient.

The bill also clarifies that all health care practitioners as defined under Section 456.001 of the Florida Statutes as well as naturopaths, nursing home administrators, radiological personnel, EMTs and certified paramedics may provide services via telehealth.  Consistent with the telemedicine regulations promulgated by the Florida Board of Medicine last year, the bill provides that the standard of care for services delivered via telehealth must be comparable to in-person health care services. Telehealth providers must also maintain patient records that are comparable to the records that must be maintained for in-person services.

Continue Reading Telehealth Bill Moving Forward in Florida-But Medicaid Coverage Sacrificed