Nutrition Telehealth: Part 1

Telehealth is one of the most exciting and rapidly changing aspects of nutrition reimbursement! If you missed our Introduction to Telehealth post last week, you can read it here. This week, we'll talk about which states cover telehealth, and share some tips.

Legislative changes, such as the Telehealth Modernization Act of 2015, call for the states to authorize health care professionals to use telehealth as a means to provide health care to patients.

However, this does not mean that all health insurance covers telehealth, or that it is always easy to get it reimbursed. Coverage varies widely by state and by plan. There are also some important restrictions on where and how telehealth services can be rendered.

If you're interested in filing for reimbursement for telehealth services, there are a few things to keep in mind: 

  1. Registered dietitians and nutritional professionals are on the approved list of professionals who can use telehealth. 
  2. Not all states cover telehealth reimbursement quite yet, but this is an area that will continue to expand over the next year or so. So check back to see if your state is covered as the year progresses.
  3. Your platform must be encrypted and follow HIPAA guidelines. A good example of this is Fruit Street
  4. Your physical location matters when you do your electronic or telephonic appointment. You may hear this called the "originating site".               Commonly approved locations include:  
    • Offices of physicians and other practitioners (yours!)
    • Community Mental Health Centers (CMHC)                     
    • Skilled Nursing Facilities (SNF)
    • Renal Dialysis Centers
    • Federally Qualified Health Centers
    • Rural Health Clinics
    • Hospitals

Curious if your state covers telehealth? 

The following is a list of states (+DC) that are the friendliest to telehealth, with coverage by both private insurance and medicare/medicaid:

  • Minnesota 
  • Mississippi
  • Nevada 
  • New York
  • Tennessee 
  • Vermont
  • Arkansas 
  • California 
  • Colorado 
  • Washington D.C. 
  • Indiana 
  • Maryland

 

Next week we will cover Telehealth: Part 2. Check in to learn what is covered in the rest of the states, and other key considerations for nutrition telehealth reimbursement.