A Washington lawmaker is preparing to resubmit bills aimed at mandating payment parity for telehealth and expand school-based telehealth programs.
The two bills were part of a four-bill package submitted in 2019 by Republican State Sen. Randi Becker, a longtime advocate of connected health. They ultimately failed to reach a vote, though two others – one establishing training procedures for healthcare providers using telemedicine and another targeting provider credentialing – were passed and signed into into law.
Becker told a local newspaper that payment parity would compel more healthcare providers to offer services in the state and prod those already in the state to try out virtual care technology.
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“I expect that it’ll go through this year. It’s happening in all sorts of other states,” she told the Nisqually Valley News. “We need that to get doctors willing to invest in the technologies to see patients that way.”
The idea of mandating that healthcare payers cover telehealth services at the same rate they cover in-person services isn’t entirely popular, with payers often arguing that they should be the ones to set reimbursement rates. Some 42 states and the District of Columbia have laws that set guidelines for telehealth reimbursement, according to a recent report from the law firm of Foley & Lardner, but only about a dozen states have enacted payment parity laws, while others have created guidelines by which payers and providers can negotiate specific rates for telehealth services.
Last October, California became the latest state to enact payment parity, passing a bill that requires payers to reimburse providers for telehealth services “on the same basis and to the same extent” that they cover in-person services.
The second telehealth bill expected to be filed by Becker would, based on the language of last year’s bill, direct the University of Washington to use a virtual platform to train school staff on how to identify students at risk of suicide, substance abuse or violence. UW would use the Project ECHO program, creating a hub-and-spoke telemedicine platform so that participants could log on for regularly scheduled interactive training sessions hosted by experts at the university.
Also, the bill mandates that all school nurses, school social workers, school psychologists and school counselors complete a training program of at least three hours on identifying at-risk students that includes guidance on using telemedicine. That program would also be incorporated into the certification process for teachers.
这两项议案是共和党参议员2019年提交的四项议案方案的一部分。Randi Becker 长期倡导健康联系。他们最终未能获得投票，但另外两人——一人为使用远程医疗的医疗保健提供者建立培训程序，另一人为目标提供者认证——获得通过并签署成为法律。
要求医疗保健人员以与其个人服务相同的费率支付远程医疗服务的想法并不完全流行，因为付款人经常辩称，他们应该是制定偿还率的人。根据 Foley & Lardner 律师事务所最近的一份报告，大约有42个州和哥伦比亚特区有制定远程医疗报销指导方针的法律，但只有大约12个州制定了支付平价法律。而其他一些国家则制定了准则，规定支付者和提供者可以就远程保健服务的具体费率进行谈判。
根据去年法案的措辞，贝克尔提出的第二项远程医疗法案将指示华盛顿大学( University of Washington )使用一个虚拟平台，培训学校员工如何识别面临自杀、滥用药物或暴力风险的学生。UW 将使用项目 ECHO 计划，创建一个集线式远程医疗平台，让参与者可以登录，定期安排由大学专家主持的交互式培训课程。