With the uptick in the pace of vaccinations and lifting of restrictions in many states over the past few weeks, a clearer picture of the road ahead is coming into focus.  In a timely discussion, Los Angeles’ Association for Corporate Growth (ACG) hosted healthcare industry leaders to share lessons learned over the past year, what’s here to stay, and what’s on the horizon.  ACG dubbed the panel “Coming up for Air: Healthcare Investing and Growth in 2021 and Beyond,” which featured leaders from various healthcare sectors, including Shane Armstrong, President and General Counsel at American Vision Partners (AVP); John DiGiovanni, Investment Partner at Arsenal Capital; and Rob Mahan, CEO at Exer Urgent Care.  The panel was moderated by Aytan Dahukey, Partner and Private Equity Team Leader at Sheppard Mullin and Adam Abramowitz, Managing Director at Intrepid Investment Bankers.
Continue Reading ACG Panel Paints a Bright Future for Healthcare Investment and Growth

Utah Bill Uses Telehealth to Address Mental Health

On March 2, 2021, Utah Governor, Spencer Cox, signed Senate Bill 41 (“SB41”) into law. The bill, sponsored by State Senator Luz Escamilla, allows coverage for mental health services delivered by telehealth – often referred to as “telemental health” services.  While we have seen many states move to create greater access to telehealth services in efforts to address the current public health crisis (the “Pandemic”), Utah is one of the first states to expand telehealth coverage to address the mental well-being of its citizens.  In a statement to State of Reform, Sen. Escamilla noted that “mental health is becoming a big crisis and in our state we’re seeing an increase in needs, and access has become very limited.”
Continue Reading The “State” of Telehealth: Utah

West Virginia Bill Seeks to Regulate Parity and Out-of-State Providers

On February 10, 2021, members of the West Virginia Legislature introduced Senate Bill 1 (“SB1”) which seeks to regulate the use of telemedicine in the state. If passed, the proposed bill would require the Public Employees Insurance Agency, Medicaid and specified insurance plans to cover telehealth services at the same rate as in-person healthcare, starting July 1, 2021. The bill would also permit healthcare providers who are licensed in other states to provide telehealth services in West Virginia.
Continue Reading The “State” of Telehealth: West Virginia

Washington State Seeks to Make Audio-Only Telehealth Permanent

On February 5, 2021, Washington State Rep. Marcus Riccelli introduced House Bill 1196 (“HB-1196”) which seeks to set specific guidelines for use and coverage of audio-only telehealth platforms, such as the phone. HB-1196 would mandate coverage for audio-only telehealth beyond the public health emergency (the “Pandemic”) as long as the service met certain requirements. The bill was passed almost unanimously by the House on February 24, 2021 and is now before the state Senate.
Continue Reading The “State” of Telehealth: Washington

Telehealth services and providers have been in high demand as the world copes with the COVID-19 public health emergency.  Federal and state agencies have amended, and often loosened, regulations in an attempt to facilitate and expand access to telehealth.  However, the honeymoon phase of relaxed oversight may be coming to an end as the world adjusts to a new-normal.
Continue Reading The Honeymoon Phase Is Over: OIG to Audit COVID-19 Part B Telehealth Services

New Hampshire Seeks to End Telehealth Parity and Audio-Only Phone Coverage

On January 13, 2021, New Hampshire lawmakers, Jess Edwards, Jason Osborne and John Hunt, introduced House Bill 602, which seeks to roll back certain provisions of the July 21, 2020 telehealth bill (“House Bill 1623”) signed into law by Governor Chris Sununu, during the height of the COVID-19 public health emergency (the “Pandemic”). House Bill 1623, amended the state’s definition of telemedicine to include new modalities, including audio-only phones, and requires Medicaid and private payers to reimburse for telehealth services on the same basis that it reimburses for in-person care. In sharp contrast, the newly proposed House Bill 602 would revise the state’s telehealth rules to eliminate payment parity and coverage for audio-only services.
Continue Reading “State” of Telehealth Series: New Hampshire

In response to the ongoing COVID-19 public health emergency (the “PHE”) first declared on March 13, 2020, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (“CMS”) issued blanket Section 1135 Waivers to expand, albeit on a temporary basis during the PHE, the range of healthcare professionals who can provide Medicare-covered telehealth services to include physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech language pathologists, and other non-physician practitioners.  (See also, CMS Fact Sheet, “Medicare Telemedicine Health Care Provider Fact Sheet” (March 17, 2020) and CMS’s “COVID-19 Emergency Declaration Blanket Waivers for Health Care Providers” (December 1, 2020)).
Continue Reading The Other Shoe Drops: OIG To Audit COVID-19 Telehealth Home Health Services

New York Telehealth Reforms – 2021 and Beyond

The Empire State continues its expansion of telehealth adoption as Governor Andrew Cuomo introduced a number of proposals as part of his 2021 State of the State agenda set to “permanently adopt COVID-19-era innovations” in telehealth.  The proposals are part of a wave of proposed legislation meant to cement the changes in telehealth regulation necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic (the “Pandemic”). Building on New York State’s adoption of Senate Bill S8416 over the summer which had already made a permanent change in the expanded definition of telehealth to include audio-only telephone communication, if adopted the proposal would provide licensing reciprocity in certain specialties, as well as remove traditional prerequisites to the provision of telehealth.
Continue Reading “State” of Telehealth Series: New York

Permanency for Out of State Telehealth Services? Arizona Seeks to Make Permanent Changes to Licensure Requirements

On January 11, 2021, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey delivered the “State of the State” address in which he outlined his vision for 2021, focusing on the State’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic (the “Pandemic”), the distribution of the vaccine, and other COVID-19 related and unrelated priorities.  Governor Ducey’s priorities are summarized in the Governor’s 2021 Arizona Resilient Policy Book (“2021 Policy Book”).
Continue Reading “State” of Telehealth Series: Arizona

On January 15, 2021, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced the initial pilot projects selected for the Connected Care Pilot Program (“Pilot Program”) for telehealth services.  The list includes 14 pilot projects spanning 11 states and more than 150 treatment sites, totaling $26.6 million awarded of the allotted $100 million under the Pilot Program.  We first introduced the Pilot Program on this blog back in April, including a full breakdown of guidance and filing requirements to request funding.
Continue Reading FCC Announces Initial Connected Care Pilot Program Projects For Telehealth

We’ve been talking about telehealth and mental health this week. Here’s both combined in one interesting and highly valued announcement today, followed by several tests – well, 3 million COVID tests a week to be exact, and, speaking of Exact Sciences, developments in the early detection tests for the other major disease that is most feared, cancer.
Continue Reading Day 3 Notes for the 39th Annual J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference, 2021