For Immediate Release
Washington, DC – The ERISA Industry Committee (ERIC) has been busy working to ensure telehealth state laws do not create additional patchworks in legislation or barriers to access of care. This week, ERIC has provided guidance to lawmakers in Idaho and Massachusetts.
ERIC’s testimony to the Idaho House Committee on Health and Welfare supported the Committee’s telehealth provisions in H.B. 342. ERIC focused on provisions in the bill that define telehealth in a technology-neutral way, amending the current code to ease the process of providing telehealth services. Under the current definition of Idaho law, telehealth interactions are mandated to be audio and video visits upon the first encounter, but H.B. 342 would remove the requirement. This change is especially important for residents of Idaho, where 42 of 44 counties face shortages in primary care providers and depend on telemedicine.
In Massachusetts, ERIC’s testimony supported the telehealth provisions in H.B. 4134, which included a technology-neutral definition of telemedicine, and required the same standard of care for telemedicine as that required for in-person care. ERIC also requested that additional telehealth provisions be included in the bill to make telehealth benefits affordable, accessible, and safe for employees and beneficiaries in the state. ERIC asked lawmakers to:
- Specify that the patient-licensee relationship may be established via telemedicine
- Encourage interstate practice among providers to improve accessibility to patients and providers regardless of one’s state of residence
- Promote coordination between the patient’s telemedicine providers and primary care provider to ensure quality of care
- Apply the same informed consent requirements to in-person visits and telehealth visits
- Clarify that e-prescribing via telemedicine is permitted
- Establish nonrestrictive originating site policies
“It is important to ERIC’s multistate member companies, that their employees and families have access to care, when and how they need it. As states contemplate how best to offer telehealth to their residents, it is important that they do not create barriers to access or create a patchwork of differing laws and regulations that make it difficult for employers to provide this important benefit to their workforce,” said James Gelfand, Senior Vice President of Health Policy, ERIC.
Click here to read ERIC’s testimony in Idaho.
Click here for ERIC’s testimony in Massachusetts.