Telemedicine refers to the use of video and other electronic communications to connect clinicians, including pediatric specialists from Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), to patients in their own communities. Many parts of the country, particularly rural areas, lack the pediatric healthcare and mental health providers to care for children; therefore, the use of telemedicine can serve to bridge the gap in availability of providers. Telehealth is a broader definition of remote healthcare that does not always involve patient clinical care services.
CHOP is actively working to create local and regional partnerships to provide more pediatric telemedicine services, including remote diagnoses and care for kids, especially those children impacted by mental and behavioral conditions.
Two important matters related to telemedicine that are monitored by the Government Affairs Team at CHOP include insurance coverage for services provided remotely and out-of-state licensure for providers.
Insurance coverage for telemedicine
- Pennsylvania — At the state level in Pennsylvania, legislators have introduced and considered a number of bills to create standards for telemedicine techniques and also to require insurers to reimburse providers for providing such services; however, legislation has not been passed thus far. CHOP continues to advocate for insurance coverage of services provided via telemedicine in Pennsylvania.
- New Jersey — In summer 2017, New Jersey passed companion telehealth bills to formally adopt definitions of both telemedicine and telehealth and to set guidelines for their use. The law, signed by Governor Chris Christie, also requires parity for telemedicine coverage, calling for state Medicaid and NJ FamilyCare programs, private payers and public employee health plans to cover and reimburse telemedicine services at the same rate as an in-person visit. CHOP Government Affairs will continue to monitor and track regulations as they are developed and pertain to practicing telehealth in New Jersey.
Interstate Medical Licensure Compact
In October 2016, Pennsylvania became the eighteenth state to join the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact, creating a new licensing option under which qualified Pennsylvania physicians seeking to practice in multiple states would be eligible for expedited licensure in all participating states. The law, supported by CHOP, also will allow eligible licensed physicians in one state to treat patients in other states via telehealth.
Indian Health Service Agreement
In October 2016, CHOP entered into a memorandum of understanding with the Indian Health Service to provide specialized physician-to-physician consultation services for children with challenging medical conditions in tribal communities in Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico and Utah. Learn more about the agreement.
Please contact our Government Affairs & Advocacy team for more information on telemedicine.