A joint statement from the states' governors only vaguely addressed telehealth reimbursement, saying that it "will be considered in the context of individual state's methods of reimbursement."
Four states—Colorado, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington—are working together to identify best practices that support telehealth services.
In a joint statement, the states' governors said that the COVID-19 pandemic has not only increased telehealth demand but also "highlighted some of the inequities of our healthcare systems."
The statement focused mainly on access issues, and only vaguely addressed reimbursement, saying that it "will be considered in the context of individual state's methods of reimbursement."
Colorado Governor Jared Polis, Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak, Oregon Governor Kate Brown, and Washington Governor Jay Inslee said their effort aims to support the continued availability of telehealth and address inequities, especially those that communities of color and tribal communities face.
Their work will focus on seven principles:
- Access: Telehealth should promote adequate, culturally responsive, patient-centered equitable access to healthcare, and ensure provider network adequacy.
- Confidentiality: Telehealth should protect patient confidentiality, and patients should provide informed consent to receive care and the specific technology used to provide it.
- Equity: They'll aim to improve equitable access with the goal that telehealth should be available to every member, regardless of race, ethnicity, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, income, class, disability, immigration status, nationality, religious belief, language proficiency, or geographic location.
- Standard of Care: All services provided via telehealth should carry standard-of-care requirements, including quality, utilization, cost, medical necessity, and clinical appropriateness.
- Stewardship: The four states will require evidence-based strategies for quality care delivery, and will take steps to mitigate and address fraud, waste, discriminatory barriers, and abuse.
- Patient choice: Patients, in conjunction with their providers, should be offered their choice-of-service delivery mode and should retain the right to receive healthcare in person.
- Payment/reimbursement: Reimbursement for services provided via telehealth modalities will be considered in the context of individual state's methods of reimbursement.
Alexandra Wilson Pecci is an editor for HealthLeaders.