- A new report from the National Conference of State Legislatures found there was a total of 200 telemedicine bills introduced in all but eight states in 2015.
- The federal government also introduced two bills, The TELEMedicine for MEDicare Act of 2015 (TELEMED Act) and the Veterans E-Health and Telemedicine Support Act of 2015, which may supersede local laws for VA and Medicare patients. The bills would create an interstate license for those practicing telemedicine on those patient populations.
- With the exception of Rhode Island, all states offer Medicaid reimbursement for telemedicine and almost all states reimburse for live video visits.
There are 32 states, plus the District of Columbia, that have telehealth parity laws mandating telehealth services be reimbursed at the same rate as in-person visits. And 23 states, and the District of Columbia, have full parity that provides coverage and reimbursement for telehealth services.
States vary on telehealth reimbursement, with some distinguishing between types of providers and, for example, excluding behavioral health providers. Some restrict telemedicine reimbursement to rural areas and others require a specific originating site.
The report concluded, "Telehealth is a rapidly growing field that has the potential to help states leverage a shrinking and maldistributed provider workforce, increase access to services, improve population health and lower costs." It added states are "grappling with how to capitalize on this potential while safeguarding state investments in telehealth and ensuring patient outcomes and safety." Reimbursement, licensure, and patient safety and security are all issues that state policymakers have to consider as telehealth moves forward in the future.