OLR Bill Analysis

SB 298 (File 319, as amended by Senate "A")*

AN ACT CONCERNING TELEHEALTH SERVICES FOR MEDICAID RECIPIENTS.

SUMMARY:

This bill requires the Department of Social Services (DSS), within available state and federal resources, to provide Medicaid coverage for telehealth services that the commissioner determines are:

1. clinically appropriate to provide via telehealth,

2. cost-effective for the state, and

3. likely to expand access to medically necessary services for Medicaid recipients who experience undue hardship accessing appropriate health care services.

The bill requires the DSS commissioner to seek a federal waiver or amend the state Medicaid plan to obtain federal reimbursement for the cost of covering these services. By law, the department must submit a Medicaid waiver application or state plan amendment to the Appropriations and Human Services Committees for approval, denial, or modification.

Lastly, the bill requires the commissioner to report by January 1, 2018 to the Human Services and Public Health committees on providing telehealth services to Medicaid recipients.

Under the bill, “telehealth” means delivering health care services through information and communication technologies to facilitate the diagnosis, consultation, treatment, education, care management, and self-management of a patient's physical and mental health. It includes:

1. interaction between a patient at an originating site and the telehealth provider at a distant site and

2. synchronous (real-time) interactions, asynchronous store and forward transfers (transmitting medical information from the patient to the telehealth provider for review at a later time), or remote patient monitoring.

Telehealth does not include using fax, audio-only telephone, texting, or e-mail.

*Senate Amendment “A” replaced the original bill (File 319) and adds the provision limiting Medicaid coverage of telehealth services to those services that are clinically appropriate, cost-effective, and likely to increase access to care.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2016

COMMITTEE ACTION

Public Health Committee

Joint Favorable Change of Reference

Yea

26

Nay

0

(03/07/2016)

Human Services Committee

Joint Favorable

Yea

18

Nay

0

(03/15/2016)