NYS Takes Emergency Steps to Encourage Telehealth

March 19, 2020 | Eric D. Fader | Margarita Christoforou | COVID-19 | Home Health | Legislation and Public Policy | Medicare and Medicaid | Private Insurers | Telehealth

On March 17, the New York State Department of Financial Services (DFS) announced the issuance of a new emergency regulation requiring insurance companies in the state to waive cost-sharing, including deductibles, copayments, and coinsurance, for in-network telehealth visits, whether or not related to coronavirus. The new regulation will “encourage New Yorkers to seek medical attention from their homes rather than visit a hospital or doctor’s office for health care services that may be unrelated to COVID-19 — ultimately reducing strain on the healthcare system and preventing further spread of COVID-19 or any other virus.”

In addition, during the current public health emergency, the New York State Medicaid Program will reimburse for telephonic consultations provided by a physician, nurse practitioner, physician assistant, or licensed midwife to their established patients. The State Department of Health discussed billing and coding for these services in a Medicaid Update.

The New York changes supplement the federal government’s March 17 response to the COVID-19 pandemic, discussed here, that allows Medicare beneficiaries to receive telehealth services in their own homes. It should be noted that in offering telehealth services to patients located within New York State, all providers must always abide by New York’s licensure requirements.

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