West Virginia Follows Trend of Individual States Advancing Telemedicine Policy

West Virginia state house delegates have recently approved a bill that its sponsors hope will expand access to mental and behavioral health medications. The Bill (HB-2509) allows for physicians to prescribe certain controlled substances via telemedicine using live video conferencing technology. The Bill aims to expand mental health providers' reach in a state where there is a dearth of mental health providers. According to lawmakers, the Bill will especially benefit the pediatric population so that children can get medication for behavioral and emotional issues. View more information here.

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The legislative efforts in West Virginia follow a larger trend of individual states enacting legislative solutions to issues around telemedicine in the absence of comprehensive federal policy. While some of this legislation focuses on access to telemedicine services, like in West Virginia, many states are laser-focused on reimbursement for services. According to the Center for Connected Health Policy at The National Telehealth Policy Resource Center (http://www.cchpca.org) there is currently a broad tapestry of reimbursement policy across the fifty states and the District of Columbia. For example, CCHPCA recently released the 5th Edition of its “State Telehealth Laws and Reimbursement Policies” report, which provides a comprehensive overview of the different reimbursement structures that exist state-to-state. The complete report can be found here .

The report assesses state reimbursement policy categorically, emphasizing (among others)

  • Definitions of the term telemedicine/telehealth
  • Reimbursement for live video sessions
  • Reimbursement for store-and-forward
  • Location of service provided
  • Online prescribing
  • Cross-state licensure

For additional guidance on state-based or Medicaid reimbursement issues in telepsychiatry, visit our Telepsychiatry Toolkit.

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