The Connecticut House approved legislation that would establish standards for telemedicine. SB-467, which is on its way to Governor Dannel Malloy for signature, covers a variety of healthcare providers, including physicians, psychiatrists, advanced practice registered nurses, physician assistants, psychologists and other types of counselors, and dietitian-nutritionists.
The provision of the bill require providers to:
- Communicate using real-time, two-way interactive technology
- Gather medical history information from the patient
- Provide the patient with the provider’s license number
- Disclose the limitations of telemedicine and get the patient’s informed consent
- Provide records of the encounter if the patient requests them
- Maintain HIPAA compliance regarding storage of medical records
The bill prohibits providers from:
- Prescribing schedule I, II, or III controlled substances via telemedicine
- Charging a facility fee for services
Most notably, it has a telemedicine parity provision that requires insurance companies to pay the same rate as they would for an in-person visit. Currently, 27 states and the District of Columbia have pay parity provisions on the books. In addition to Connecticut, seven states are considering new telemedicine parity legislation.
The bill, if signed into law, would take effect October 1, 2015. Separate provisions of the bill, which would require individual and group health insurance policies to cover telemedicine, would take effect January 1, 2016.