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Telehealth Bill Passes Missouri House

The Missouri House passed Rep. Jay Barnes' telehealth bill, House Bill 1923, by a vote of 154 to 1 this week. HB 1923 authorizes providers to perform services via telehealth if the services are within their scope of practice and they can meet the same standard of care as provided face to face. This section includes an emergency clause, meaning it will go into effect upon the bill's final passage.

HB 1923 also expands the current list of providers eligible to receive Medicaid reimbursement for providing care through telehealth. Clinical social workers and providers in rural health clinics are among those added. The list of eligible originating sites for a telehealth encounter would be expanded to include schools, Child Advocacy Centers, and patients' homes.

Medicaid reimbursement for store-and-forward telehealth would be authorized for a limited number of services, including dental services requiring a diagnosis, burn and wound care, and dermatology. In store-and-forward telehealth, patient information is collected by one provider and sent to another for consultation, but the interaction does not occur in real-time. Currently, Medicaid does not reimburse for any asynchronous telehealth services. Additionally, the bill creates a tele-monitoring pilot program in which Medicaid would reimburse for services to monitor patients' health data from their home.

Rep. Barnes' bill was amended on the floor to add a dentist to the Telehealth Services Advisory Committee, which will advise the Department of Social Services on its policies regarding Medicaid coverage for store-and-forward telehealth. The second amendment said that medication cannot be prescribed based solely on a telephone encounter, but a provider can prescribe based on a telephone encounter if they have an ongoing relationship with the patient.

Senate Bill 621, Sen. Gary Romine's telehealth bill, was referred to the House Health and Mental Health Policy Committee and is scheduled to be heard on April 6.

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