Bills concerning telemedicine and health care services for minors advance in legislature

Bills concerning telemedicine and health care services for minors advanced in the Michigan Legislature last week.

 

Get the latest state-specific policy intelligence for the health care sector delivered to your inbox.

 

Senate Bill 1135, sponsored by Sen. Mike MacDonald (R – Macomb Township), would require telemedicine services to be covered under the medical assistance program and Healthy Michigan Program (HMP) if those services were provided at or contracted through a distant site allowed in the Medicaid provider manual. 

The bill would also require the medical assistance program and HMP to include a comprehensive set of the programs’ services and benefits as covered telemedicine services, including at least medical, dental, behavioral, and substance use disorder services.

The bill would require the medical assistance program and HMP to authorize as many types of health care distant providers as allowable by law to render telemedicine services, and would also require continued coverage for audio-only telemedicine services. 

SB 1135 would also prohibit the medical assistance program and HMP from reimbursing distant providers for telemedicine services at a lower rate than comparable services rendered in person, except when reimbursing a provider who exclusively provided telemedicine services.

The bill would also require reimbursement for these telemedicine services to be contingent upon the availability of federal financial participation for these services in the medical assistance program and HMP, and require that these services be incorporated in rate development for any managed care program that was implemented in the medical assistance program and HMP. 

According to the Michigan Health & Hospital Association (MHA), this bill “… would continue virtual care policies that have proved to be effective and safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.” 

SB 1135 moved from the Senate Health Policy & Human Services Committee to the Senate Floor, where it now awaits a vote.

House Bill 5880, a bipartisan bill sponsored by Reps. Julie Calley (R – Portland), Karen Whitsett (D – Detroit), and Jeff Yaroch (R – Richmond), would prohibit providers from providing non-emergency health care to a minor without first obtaining the consent of the minor’s parent or guardian. 

The MHA said they will oppose any further action on the bill, taking issue “ … with how the new language could impact patient care.”

The bill did not receive a committee hearing and was sent directly to the House Floor, where it passed in a 58-21 vote.