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New York Expands Telehealth Originating Sites – More Changes Could Be in the Wings

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The New York legislature has passed S4285, a bill expanding the list of authorized originating sites at which telehealth may be provided to New York citizens. The bill adds adult care facilities as a category of originating sites where patients can receive telehealth services to include:

  • assisted living facilities, adult homes, continuing care retirement communities; and
  • other facilities providing care to adults unable to live independently, but not amounting to continued medical or nursing care.

This is good news for New York facilities that offer long term care for an often fragile patient population. Telehealth in the long term care setting has been shown to reduce unnecessary acute facility readmissions or transfers; increase availability of mental health services; and increase access to remotely located specialists without the need for travel.

With the expansion of the state's telehealth law, facilities that fall within the newly anointed category of New York originating sites should determine whether a telehealth offering fits within their structure and strategic plans, and consider how telehealth could benefit their resident population. Going forward, facilities should carefully craft their services arrangements with providers and software companies to meet all other requirements of state law, including those related to the provider and patient relationship, as well as to comply with all applicable federal and state privacy and security requirements.

While this demonstration of continuing state expansion of telehealth practice is positive news for all telehealth providers, of equal and perhaps greater interest may be the fate of Bill A1421, which provides for both payor coverage parity and payment parity. The inclusion of both coverage and payment parity has often eluded some payor statutes. New York, however, may get it right. Stay tuned for updates on the fate of that bill as well.

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