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Ohio General Assembly Sends Gov. Mike DeWine Bill Permanently Expanding Telehealth

Brooke Phillips, CWCMS
Editor | Shield HealthCare
12/08/21  2:53 PM PST
Mike Dewine expanding telehealth

COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Ohio General Assembly has passed a bill that would permanently make the temporary options authorized during the pandemic for telehealth visits to psychologists or therapists, audiologists, physical therapists, dietitians, optometrists other health care providers.

The Ohio Senate unanimously passed House Bill 122 on Wednesday afternoon, sending the bill to Gov. Mike DeWine.

If the governor signs the bill, it would require public and private insurance to reimburse medical providers for covered telehealth services. Health care professionals can negotiate with insurance companies over reimbursement rates associated with telehealth, the bill says.

Insurance companies couldn’t require co-payments for telehealth patients that exceed co-payments for comparable in-person services, the bill says.

The bill also permits a doctor authorized to recommend Ohio medical marijuana to use telehealth services to conduct a patient exam that’s necessary before they can recommend the drug, the bill states.

Testifying in favor of the bill were the American Cancer Society, the National M.S. Society, the Cleveland Clinic and other hospital systems and associations representing drug and alcohol recovery providers, behavioral health providers, physical therapists, psychiatrists.

Some dentists, including those who offer telemedicine options, testified against the bill because it did not include their profession.

High-quality, affordable dental care is out of reach of many Ohioans, Dr. Marc Ackerman, a Boston dentist and executive director of the American Teledentistry Association, testified to lawmakers in October. He said emerging technologies are an effective alternative to some traditional appointments. For example, he said dentists could diagnose and educate patients on specific dental care through video consultations and other telemedicine technologies.

“The decision to leave dentists out of the list of providers permitted to deliver their services via telehealth modalities is unconscionable, considering the fact that access to affordable, high-quality dental care is limited in Ohio,” he said.

Read original article by Laura Hancock on cleveland.com. 

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