New Jersey Poised to Enact Sweeping Telemedicine Legislation

The past year has been a busy one at the state level for telehealth legislation. Indeed, an April report from the Center for Connected Health Policy identified more than 200 telehealth-related bills that had been introduced in 44 states in 2017 alone. Now, one more state legislature is poised to pass a bill paving the way for the broader use—and regulation—of telehealth within its borders. As mHealth Intelligence and NJ.com first reported, the bipartisan Assembly Bill 1464 has passed key committees in both the New Jersey State Assembly and the New Jersey Senate, putting it on track for passage in both chambers. Said Assemblywoman Pamela Lampitt (D), who sponsored the bill, to NJ.com, “It will make it quicker and easier to access treatment … lower costs and, most importantly, make sure patients get the treatment they need, when they need it, to improve their long-term health.”

The bill officially “authorizes health care practitioners to provide health care services through telemedicine.” More specifically, it would allow for parity in reimbursement, as well as allowing for the establishment of the provider-patient relationship via telehealth. The legislation would also forbid insurance plans from requiring in-person visits before telehealth visits could be authorized, and it would specifically prohibit audio-only encounters from being covered. Finally, it would take the first steps to add New Jersey to the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact, which 18 states have already joined; lawmakers in five others are currently considering legislation that would pave the way for their membership, too. The Compact facilitates the practice of medicine across state lines.

New Jersey, which has the distinction of being the country’s most densely populated state, has not been as active as other states in embracing telehealth. However, some health care organizations based there, NJ.com notes, are already using virtual visits with their patients. Advocates, for their part, praised the legislation’s progress, pointing to the potential cost savings and added flexibility its passage would bring to patients in the state. As AARP’s Brian Maguire told NJ.com, the bill would be particularly beneficial for senior citizens seeking to remain in their homes by allowing for the expansion of remote monitoring. “This will clearly result in better access to care” and “improve outcomes by catching problems early,” he noted. The legislation has also earned the endorsement of the ERISA Industry Committee, among other organizations; Teladoc, too, has voiced support.

Click here to read the article on the New Jersey telehealth legislation from mHealth Intelligence.

Click here to read the article on the New Jersey telehealth legislation from NJ.com.

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