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Telehealth

During the COVID-19 pandemic many in-office patients visits were canceled or delayed. As a result, telehealth usage increased quickly and dramatically. This increase led to many questions from physicians and other healthcare professionals who sought clarity around the rules and regulations related to issues of payment parity, patient access, liability, and security, to name a few.

That said, the ISMS worked with the Governor’s office to issue an Executive Order (EO) requiring coverage and payment parity for services delivered via telehealth. It also prohibited the use of prior authorizations for telehealth services delivered by in-network providers and waived cost-sharing requirements for patients. This EO was extended many times by the Governor. ISMS also supported legislation that would have codified the Governor’s Executive Order into law.

To see ISMS’ specific work on telehealth related issues, please check out the end of session legislative reports.

Currently Tracked Bills

ISMS Supports

Telehealth HB 3308 (Sponsor: Rep. Deb Conroy / Sen. Mattie Hunter) establishes the following protections on Telehealth:

  • Bars insurers from requiring patients to prove a hardship or access barrier in order to receive healthcare services through telehealth.
  • Prohibits geographic or facility restrictions on telehealth services, allowing patients to be treated via telehealth in their home.
  • Protects patient preference by establishing that a patient cannot be required to use telehealth services.
  • Ensures patients will not be required to use a separate panel of providers or practitioners to receive telehealth services.
  • Aligns telehealth practice with privacy laws for in-person practice, while giving healthcare providers the professional latitude to determine the appropriateness of specific sites and technology platforms for telehealth services.
  • Aligns telehealth coverage and payment with in-person care, making appropriate patient access to care the priority and removing harmful barriers that shift costs to the patient and healthcare provider.
  • Equal coverage eliminates policy loopholes that allow insurers to create separate telehealth networks which ship tax dollars to out-of-state providers that work outside of a patient’s care team.

The insurance industry was very much opposed to the bill. ISMS supported House Bill 3308 as amended. This bill passed both chambers and will be sent to the Governor for further action.

Read more on ISMS’ advocacy efforts to help pass House Bill 3308 in this year’s ISMS Legislative Report.

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