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New York Governor Proposes Moves to Expand Telehealth

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is now proposing changes that he says would give patients in the state more telehealth options and the ability to more quickly investigate complaints about doctors.

Doctor conducts telehealth appointment on a laptop
(TNS) — New York Gov.  Andrew Cuomo  is proposing changes he says would give patients more telehealth options and more quickly investigate complaints about doctors.

The emphasis on expanding telehealth services comes after many providers and patients switched to online appointments during the coronavirus pandemic. Cuomo signed executive orders that made these video or phone call sessions that allowed people to seek care – especially counseling – without leaving their homes.

Now the laws governing insurance reimbursements and other health care regulations need updating, Cuomo says. That includes some changes to Medicaid, the government health care plan for the poor and people with disabilities.

At the same time, Cuomo is proposing to require physicians who move out of state to renew their medical licenses. Currently, doctors licensed in New York remain licensed for life, even if they move out-of-state.

And he’s proposing to give nurses priority access to all state-run universities. Four years ago, Cuomo signed a law requiring nurses with two-year degrees to get a four-year degree within a decade of becoming a nurse.

The proposals come a day before Cuomo will deliver his annual State of the State message at 11:30 a.m. Monday.

The governor’s proposals include:

Requiring Medicaid to offer telehealth reimbursement for services, regardless of where the patient or provider is

Developing interstate licensing reciprocity with nearby states in case of staff shortages

Allowing some unlicensed staff, such as credential alcohol and drug counselors, to deliver services for people with addictions and mental health conditions.

Requiring commercial health insurers to offer a telehealth program to members, and provide Medicaid coverage, subject to federal approval, to cover services furnished over telephones when appropriate

Reset reimbursement rates to incentivize telehealth when medically appropriate

Requiring insurers to offer online triage or virtual emergency room coverage for symptom assessments

(c)2021 Syracuse Media Group, N.Y. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.