§432D‑23.5 Coverage for telehealth. (a) It is the intent of the legislature to recognize the application of telehealth as a reimbursable service by which an individual shall receive medical services from a health care provider without face-to-face contact with the health care provider.
(b) No health maintenance organization plan that is issued, amended, or renewed shall require face-to-face contact between a health care provider and a patient as a prerequisite for payment for services appropriately provided through telehealth in accordance with generally accepted health care practices and standards prevailing in the applicable professional community at the time the services were provided. The coverage required in this section may be subject to all terms and conditions of the plan agreed upon among the enrollee or subscriber, the health maintenance organization, and the health care provider.
(c) Reimbursement for services provided through telehealth shall be equivalent to reimbursement for the same services provided via face-to-face contact between a health care provider and a patient. Nothing in this section shall require a health care provider to be physically present with the patient at an originating site unless a health care provider at the distant site deems it necessary.
(d) Notwithstanding chapter 453 or rules adopted pursuant thereto, in the event that a health care provider-patient relationship does not exist between the patient and the health care provider involved in a telehealth interaction between the patient and the health care provider, a telehealth mechanism may be used to establish a health care provider-patient relationship.
(e) All health maintenance organizations shall provide current and prospective insureds with written disclosure of coverages and benefits associated with telehealth services, including information on copayments, deductibles, or coinsurance requirements under a policy, contract, plan, or agreement. The information provided shall be current, understandable, and available prior to enrollment in a policy, contract, plan, or agreement and upon request after enrollment in the policy, contract, plan, or agreement.
(f) Services provided by telehealth pursuant to this section shall be consistent with all federal and state privacy, security, and confidentiality laws.
(g) For the purposes of this section:
"Distant site" means the location of the health care provider delivering services through telehealth at the time the services are provided.
"Health care provider" means a provider of services, as defined in title 42 United States Code section 1395x(u), a provider of medical and other health services, as defined in title 42 United States Code section 1395x(s), other practitioners licensed by the State and working within their scope of practice, and any other person or organization who furnishes, bills, or is paid for health care in the normal course of business, including but not limited to primary care providers, mental health providers, oral health providers, physicians and osteopathic physicians licensed under chapter 453, advanced practice registered nurses licensed under chapter 457, psychologists licensed under chapter 465, and dentists licensed under chapter 448.
"Originating site" means the location where the patient is located, whether accompanied or not by a health care provider, at the time services are provided by a health care provider through telehealth, including but not limited to a health care provider's office, hospital, health care facility, a patient's home, and other nonmedical environments such as school-based health centers, university-based health centers, or the work location of a patient.
"Telehealth" means the use of telecommunications services, as defined in section 269‑1, to encompass four modalities: store and forward technologies, remote monitoring, live consultation, and mobile health; and which shall include but not be limited to real-time video conferencing-based communication, secure interactive and non‑interactive web-based communication, and secure asynchronous information exchange, to transmit patient medical information, including diagnostic-quality digital images and laboratory results for medical interpretation and diagnosis, for the purpose of delivering enhanced health care services and information while a patient is at an originating site and the health care provider is at a distant site. Standard telephone contacts, facsimile transmissions, or e-mail text, in combination or by itself, does not constitute a telehealth service for the purposes of this chapter. [L 1998, c 278, §4; am L 2006, c 219, §4; am L 2009, c 20, §5; am L 2014, c 159, §5; am L 2016, c 226, §8]
Applicability of L 2016, c 226 requirement for reimbursement for telehealth services to health benefits plans under chapter 87A. L 2016, c 226, §13.
Practice of telehealth, see §453-1.3.