The Grades Are In! ATA Releases State-by-State Report Cards.

When it comes to connecting with your clients online, it is important to know your state’s guidelines, from everything on location to reimbursement. Finding this information can feel like a scavenger hunt, which is why the ATA seeks to lift the fogginess surrounding this information by releasing report cards for all 50 states. This cards give “grades” for each state on every telehealth issue.

Does Your State Make The Grade?

Through utilizing data categorized into 13 indicators related to coverage and reimbursement of telehealth services rendered, the new report was able to identify “a mix of strides and stagnation in state-based  policy despite decades of evidence-based research highlighting positive clinical outcomes and increasing telehealth utilization.” Proponents of telehealth echo these claims, saying that insurers, state lawmakers and even Medicaid agencies are seeing telemedicine as a not only affordable, but a convenient solution to bridge the gap in care and a sound option to continue to provide quality mental health care to clients.

The Trend is Promising!

Many states received a full letter grade boost, as seven of them have adopted policies that improved coverage and reimbursement to telehealth services rendered following last year’s report. Some of these jumps in letter grades include Connecticut and Rhode Island making the giant leap from a grade of “F” to “B.”  Since the start of the ATA grading system in 2014, at least 10 states have enacted telehealth parity laws with private insurers in response.  Also, for the first time since the ATA has been conducting the Coverage and Reimbursement report, all of the Medicaid agencies across the country have moved to covering some form of telehealth services.  Additionally, 26 states have some type of coverage for telehealth under the state employee health plans.

The Future of Telehealth

The report maintains a positive attitude about the results, authors writing “Patients and healthcare providers are benefitting from policy improvements to existing parity laws, expanded service coverage, and removed statutory and regulatory barriers.”  In the field of behavioral health, more states are understanding the need for telemental health.  Fifteen states rank high for coverage of mental and behavioral health, while other states, like New York, have tricky regulations that attempt to restrict the telemental field.  The researchers maintain that despite some states are dragging their feet to adopt the necessary regulatory requirements, there is a general embrace of telehealth by The United States.

Want to know how your state stacks up?  Check out our handy reimbursement and coverage guide HERE.  For any questions on reimbursement or how your state regulates online engagement solutions, contact a WeCounsel success representative by calling 888-958-2885.