By: Follow South Jersey Staff
SOUTH JERSEY – Health benefits plans will continue to reimburse health care providers for telehealth and telemedicine services at the same rate as in-person services for the next two years due to recently signed state legislation.
The legislation, signed by Governor Phil Murphy on December, 21, extends the requirement adopted at the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
At the same time, the legislation charges the Department of Health with conducting an in-depth study of the utilization of telehealth and telemedicine and its effects on patient outcomes, quality and satisfaction, and access to care in order to inform future decisions on payment structure for these services. This legislation will provide critical support to patients and providers while the State continues to address the challenges posed by the pandemic, and while the Department of Health evaluates how to best leverage payment and telemedicine to improve access to affordable care and maintain the highest quality of care possible.
“Telehealth and telemedicine services have been critical during the COVID-19 pandemic and will stay with us long after the pandemic is over,” Murphy said in a press release from his office. “New Jerseyans have greater access to the health care they need with the proliferation and expansion of these services, and with this legislation, we are ensuring that this new technology can remain viable as we emerge from the pandemic while also ensuring that New Jersey remains at the forefront of innovative health care policy that serves all New Jerseyans.”
Department of Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli said that the new legislation is vital to underserved communities.
“Throughout this pandemic, telemedicine has been a lifeline to vital health care services for many—especially those in underserved communities,” Persichilli said. “The Department will thoroughly assess the impact of pay parity in telehealth and telemedicine services and make thoughtful recommendations for the future.”
Sarah Adelman, Department of Human Services Commissioner, said that effectiveness of telehealth and telemedicine has been proven over the course of the pandemic.
“Telehealth and telemedicine have proven invaluable during the pandemic, providing flexibility and expanding access for vital services ranging from routine care to mental health services,” Adelman said. “We’re pleased that the current telehealth services will continue through the end of 2023 to benefit NJ FamilyCare beneficiaries, patients seeking mental health services and providers alike. We look forward to assisting with the upcoming assessment in any way possible and look forward to its recommendations as we all work toward our shared goal of ensuring continuity of care for patients and support for providers.”
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