Telehealth policy changes after the COVID-19 public health emergency
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services took a range of administrative steps to expedite the adoption and awareness of telehealth during the COVID-19 pandemic. Some of these telehealth flexibilities have been made permanent while others are temporary.
As the public health emergency ends, more resources and guidance will be made available to keep you and your staff up-to-date regarding the latest changes to telehealth policies.
Recent legislation authorized an extension of many of the policies outlined in the COVID-19 public health emergency through December 31, 2024.
Full text of the changes are here: Telehealth.HSS.gov
BREAKING NEWS: POLICY UPDATE FOR OKLAHOMA
This update impacts physical therapists in Oklahoma. There is a new section of regulation specific for physical therapists’ telehealth services.
Key points for the provider community to know:
- PTs can receive referrals from APRNs (not limited to telehealth)
- Services must be synchronous
- The therapist determines if in-person evaluation is necessary in lieu of telehealth
- Documentation should indicate the visit was via telehealth
- “Audio and video equipment” must allow for interactive, real-time communication which permit the patient and therapist to “see and hear each other”.
- A physical therapist may use telehealth methods for routine and general supervision of Form 5-registered supervisees.
- Regulations incorporate Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE) standards, academic program rules, and practice setting policies regarding the use of telehealth service delivery as well as follow all applicable supervision rules
- Failure to comply with regulations for telehealth is unprofessional conduct
Full text of the changes are here: 12-28-98 (okmedicalboard.org)
Telehealth Free Webinars
The Heartland Telehealth Resource Center (HTRC) and Missouri Telehealth Network (MTN) are offering a Telemedicine ECHO for providers in Missouri, Kansas and Oklahoma. The ECHO will be held the second Tuesday of each month from 9 to 10 a.m. Sessions will offer a brief didactic opening, followed by a question-and-answer period that will address such topics as reimbursement, operations, regulations, best practices and more. Click here to download the ECHO flyer. Click below to register.
Telehealth Useful Links and Article of Interest
The Telehealth Learning Bundle is a resource that provides context, learning opportunities, and implementation resources to support the effort of reimagining how training and technical assistance (TTA) and the operating environment can be strengthened to build a sustainable future for telehealth across the health center community.
Using the Ready-Set-Go approach, you can:
- Ready: Gain a background understanding of the changing telehealth landscape.
- Set: Learn about the telehealth priority areas through a series of microlearning videos.
- Go: Access telehealth resources and tools in the Clearinghouse to adopt or adapt to meet the needs of your health center.
The National Consortium of Telehealth Resource Centers have gathered resources specific to Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs). Example resources include a Critical Access Hospital Telehealth Guide and a webinar on Telehealth Essentials for FQHCs:
Staffing resources and uncertainty surrounding payer reimbursement are the two most significant barriers to telehealth’s growth after the pandemic era, according to a September report
New to telehealth? Then this video series is just for you! This new Telehealth 201 series is designed to help provide a deeper understanding on how telehealth policy affects us — boots on the ground!
Oklahoma Health Care Authority
2020 Telehealth Summary
Date Posted: 8/11/2020
COVID – 19 Resources
Telehealth is playing a critical role in increasing access to care for patients during the COVID-19 outbreak. Many providers have questions about how to adopt telehealth, what new policy changes mean, and what others are doing to leverage the power of Telehealth in reaching more people. The resources listed below include fact sheets, toolkits, ongoing webinars, and CDC guidance related to COVID-19. We also realize it’s a stressful time for health care providers, responders, and all others impacted by COVID-19.
The link below will provide you with up to date information and help answer questions you have.
Direct Link: COVID-19 Resources
Date Posted: 4/28/2020
Expanded use of Telehealth and Telephonic services during COVID-19 National/State Emergency for COVID-19
The Oklahoma Health Care Authority is allowing expanded use of telehealth beginning March 16, 2020 through April 30, 2020 for services that can be safely provided via secure telehealth communication devices for all SoonerCare members. OHCA will assess the status of the COVID-19 situation toward the end of April to determine if the expansion should be continued. Providers will continue to meet the requirements of OAC 317:30-3-27 in delivering telehealth services and must submit claims using the GT modifier. Additionally, the use of telephonic services (non face-to-face) may be utilized in instances when the SoonerCare member does not have access to telehealth equipment, the service is necessary to the health and safety of the member, and the service can safely and effectively be provided over the telephone. For providers who bill E&M codes, the codes for telephonic services are 99441, 99442 and 99443. Other healthcare professionals can bill using 98966, 98967 and 98968.
Providers are encouraged to create internal policies and procedures regarding the use of telehealth during a national/state emergency so that all staff understand its appropriate use during this time. Documentation in the client’s record should either reference the provider’s internal policy or otherwise indicate why telehealth was utilized if the service was not reimbursed via telehealth prior to March 16, 2020.
If you have any questions, please call the OHCA Provider Helpline at 800-522-0114. Thank you for your support of SoonerCare.
Date Posted: 3/23/2020
Telehealth Coverage Policies
As things rapidly develop on both what we know about COVID-19, policies around telehealth have also been developing alongside of it. COVID-19 Telehealth Policies is a summary of what is covered by various public and private payers with the information that has been released. Keep in mind that events are evolving and to consider this a living document that could change frequently as new information and new policies become available/are enacted. CCHP will continue to make updates when they become available.
World Health Organization
Centers for Disease Control
Oklahoma Health Department