OSMA’s advocacy team has been working on this issue diligently for the duration of the pandemic and is excited to report on its passage to our members.
The timing of HB 122 becoming law is critical, as the current telehealth rules are set to expire March 31, 2022. Because HB 122 will go into effect prior to this deadline, physicians can continue to practice and provide care via telehealth as they are now with no interruption in patient care.
Notable provisions of the bill include:
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services recently announced that telehealth services added to the Medicare telehealth services list during the COVID-19 public health emergency will remain on the list through December 31, 2023 as CMS continues to evaluate whether these services should be permanently included.
This news comes as a new report released by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services shows that utilization of telehealth by Medicare patients increased 63-fold during the pandemic.
Medicare will pay for mental health visits rendered by Rural Health Clinics and Federally Qualified Health Centers through interactive video-based telemedicine and audio-only telephone calls. Furthermore, CMS is eliminating geographic barriers, permitting patients to access diagnosis, treatment, and evaluation of mental health disorders via telehealth. These provisions were included in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021.
The Academy of Medicine of Cleveland & Northern Ohio (AMCNO) is looking to identify 5 – 8 practices that are interested in participating in the AMA Telehealth Initiative’s second cohort project. This grant is funded by the AMA and Physicians Foundation. The AMCNO will serve as the liaison between the practices and these partners, to survey and report progress on telehealth use, as we enter the second year of the pandemic. Training through virtual events and opportunities to network and learn from peers will be provided. Individual and group practices are asked to participate—a $1,500 stipend is available and a 12- to 16-month commitment is required. The AMCNO is looking for practices at all levels of telehealth usage—from those just starting to offer telehealth to those who want to enhance their current offerings. If you are interested in participating, please contact AMCNO Communications Director Tara Camera at email@example.com.