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Displaying items by tag: Telehealth News | Legal Updates

Friday, 03 April 2020 07:41

CARES Act

March 27, 2020, is the date that the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) was passed. The CARES Act is a $2 trillion stimulus package and designates emergency funding for topics such as healthcare, state funding, and overall relief. 

What immediate impact does the CARES Act have on healthcare during the period of the COVID-19 emergency?

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Ray Barrett recently met with Mei Kwong, the Executive Director at CCHP, Center for Connected Health Policy to discuss recent regulation changes pertaining to the COVID-19 epidemic.

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Friday, 13 March 2020 06:48

ONC’s Cures Act Final Rule

March 2020 marked the release of the 21st Century Cures Act: Interoperability, Information Blocking, and the ONC Health IT Certification Program Final Rule by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). This has been a five-year process and a promise for improvement and progress in the United States health care system.

In December 2016, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC’s) Cures Act was signed into law by Congress and has been under revision so that the newly issued Final Rule supports modern-day technology. The Cures Act is designed to accelerate medical product development, information innovation and advancements in access to patient information. A goal of the Cures Act is to establish the means by which the market takes the lead and drives development – to not wait on legislation and regulations in order to make improvements.

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H.R. 6074 (“Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2020”) is an $8.3 billion COVID-19 funding package that was signed into law on March 6, 2020, to address issues that arise during the coronavirus public health emergency. H.R.6074 includes a provision to temporarily lift restrictions and implement the wider use of telehealth services by Medicare beneficiaries.

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Monday, 24 February 2020 09:19

HIPAA Review of Technology Vendors

Ray Barrett interviewed Kelly Koch from Compliancy Group. In this informative conversation, Ray and Kelly delve into the steps required by healthcare providers to remain compliant with HIPAA law when working with third-party vendors. Kelly was able to help dispel much of the confusion surrounding this important topic and layout some clear “does and don’ts” when it comes to HIPAA and working with other organizations.

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Telehealth is changing the way that patients can access health care, but when new technology meets decades-old federal regulation, tensions will necessarily arise.

When it comes to the intersection between telehealth and HIPAA regulation, there are many common misconceptions about how to run a telehealth practice while maintaining compliance with federal privacy and security standards.

Before we dive into some of the particularities of HIPAA as they apply to telehealth professionals, let's look at some of the basics of HIPAA regulation.

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Tuesday, 07 January 2020 08:47

Georgia Telehealth Laws are Now in Effect

georgia telehealth laws are now in effect

In early 2019, the Georgia Senate passed two bills addressing telehealth and telemedicine. Both bills address comprehensive healthcare reform in order to reduce costs, increase access, and enhance quality care for Georgia residents. Since 2006, the state of Georgia has addressed telehealth parity law, and continued to address the need and coordination of telehealth care. The most recent bills (Senate Bill 115 and Senate Bill 118) continue to demonstrate how Georgia legislature has updated and revised existing laws.

"The Medical Practice Act of the State of Georgia" (SB 115) became effective on July 1, 2019. SB 115 allows for the provision of telemedicine licenses for physicians licensed and located outside of Georgia to provide care to patients who are located within the state at the time of service. SB 115 adds a new Code that defines the requirements for a telemedicine license.

In order for a physician to be issued a telemedicine license from Georgia, the physician must:

  • Hold a full and unrestricted license in a state other than Georgia
  • Have a clean record of discipline and action by any other state or jurisdiction
  • Meet the requirements established by the board pursuant to the Code in order to ensure patient safety.

In order to maintain the license, the following requirements must be met:

  • Licensee cannot engage in practice while physically located in Georgia
  • Notify the board immediately of any restrictions placed on license
  • Comply with applicable Georgia laws regarding patient records and confidentiality, regardless of physical location of licensee
  • Comply with all provision of the Code Section of SB 115
  • Violation of Code is subject to telemedicine license revocation

The Georgia "Telehealth Act" (SB 118) became effective on January 1, 2020. An adaptation of Georgia's previous Telemedicine Act, SB 118 revises the definition of terms related to telemedicine (i.e. "distant site" and originating site") and clearly defines telehealth. 

  • The term "telehealth" means the use of various forms of technology - including telephones and remote monitoring devices - to support clinical health care, consultation, health related education, public health and health administration.
  • The term "telemedicine" is a specific form of telehealth encompassing the delivery of clinical health care by real-time, two-way electronic communication by a provider who is legally allowed to practice in Georgia.

In addition, the Telehealth Act increases reimbursement opportunities and patient participation in telehealth. The bill requires that insurers cover telehealth and telemedicine services, while specifying that insurers cannot require that services are provided by telemedicine.

With the passage and effective dates of SB 115 and SB 118, the Georgia state Senate improved their telehealth laws to reflect new terminology, create more opportunities for health care for state residents, and broaden insurance coverage for services provided from a distance.

Social Workers, Marriage and Family Therapists, and Licensed Professional Counselors, who provide telemental health services in Georgia, should be aware of Georgia’s Telemental Health Rule which requires at least a 6 hour CE training on telemental health counseling. We provide a course specifically to meet that rule.

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Tuesday, 03 December 2019 10:53

IMLC – Interstate Medical Licensure Compact

The Interstate Medical Licensure Compact (IMLC) allows physicians from 43 different Medical and Osteopathic boards to practice medicine across state lines. Interstate compacts exist so that governing agencies from different states or jurisdictions are able to define an agreement which allows for members of their respective regions to operate under a mutual set of regulations.

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Monday, 02 December 2019 18:06

What is the Nursing Licensure Compact (NLC)?

The Nursing Licensure Compact (NLC) allows nurses to have one license to practice in multiple states. An interstate compact allows multiple states to join together and uniformly address common issues and establish guidelines that cross state boundaries to maintain regularity between governing agencies. 

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The Psychological Interjurisdictional Compact (PSYPACT) was approved in 2015 by the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Board (ASPPB – the alliance of psychology boards in US and Canada). By definition, a compact is an interstate agreement allowing states to enact legislation and enter a contract for a specific, limited purpose or to address a particular policy issue. One of the greatest advantages to any interstate compact is establishing a solution that uniformly addresses multi-state issues.

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