State Telehealth Bills Move to Full Senate

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Michigan Capitol BuildingMembers of the state Senate Committee on Health and Human Services voted unanimously June 4 to support House Bills (HBs) 5412 through 5416, which would expand opportunities for providers to receive Medicaid payment for telehealth services. The MHA has supported efforts to expand access to these services to help address the nation’s physician and nursing shortage and improve outcomes for patients.

HBs 5412, 5413 and 5414 would remove the requirement that providers interact with a patient in real time during a telehealth visit and would allow for the sharing of health data through a secure messaging application that complies with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. Also known as asynchronous care, this use of telehealth would reduce the need for face-to-face office visits and increase efficiency for both providers and patients.

HB 5415 would require the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) to provide Medicaid coverage for remote patient monitoring (RPM) services. RPM is the use of technology to collect health data from an individual and automatically transmit it to a healthcare provider in a different location for assessment. RPM technology can drastically improve the quality of telehealth visits, as the health professional can electronically receive patient-generated health data, much like an in-person visit.

HB 5416 would require the MDHHS to provide Medicaid coverage for telehealth services when the patient received those services at home, in school or at any other site considered appropriate by the provider. Currently in Michigan, Medicaid reimburses for telehealth services only when a patient receives those services from a federally qualified health facility. HB 5416 would expand the allowable sites for a patient to seek treatment to include additional sites and would eliminate geographic restrictions on providers a patient may interact with. The proposed legislation could have significantly positive impacts on health outcomes and efficiency.

The package was introduced by Reps. Hank Vaupel (R-Fowlerville), Douglas Wozniak (R-Shelby Twp.), Frank Liberati (D-Allen Park), Phil Green (R-Millington) and Mary Whiteford (R-Casco Twp.). The bills were unanimously supported in the House of Representatives, and now await a vote from the full Senate. The MHA will continue to support the package and keep members apprised. For more information, contact Sean Sorenson at the MHA.