Governor Lamont Signs Order Enabling Expanded Use of Telehealth Services To Continue During COVID-19 Pandemic
Governor Ned Lamont signed an executive order modifying certain state laws in order to allow expanded access to telehealth services to continue in Connecticut during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
When the pandemic began in March 2020, Governor Lamont immediately recognized the need to encourage the use of telehealth and he issued Executive Order No. 7G, which utilized the emergency authority granted to him due to the pandemic in order to relax certain laws regulating these services. To further encourage the use of telehealth, the Connecticut General Assembly met in special session in July 2020 and adopted Public Act 20-2, which codified those provisions of the governor’s executive order into state statute and also provided additional flexibility on these services. That public act, however, included an expiration date of March 15, 2021.
Governor Lamont said that patients continue to benefit from the expanded use of telehealth services and it’s too early for the provisions relaxing those regulations to end. The governor issued Executive Order No. 10C which slightly modifies that public act by extending its expiration date to April 20, 2021. This also is the date the emergency authority granted to the governor is set to expire.
- Authorizes additional health care professionals to provide telehealth services;
- Allows certain telehealth providers to offer audio-only services by telephone;
- Allows certain providers to use additional technologies, such as certain third-party video communication applications, like Zoom;
- Develop requirements for telehealth providers seeking payment from uninsured or underinsured patients;
- Requires insurance coverage for telehealth services and prohibits providers reimbursed for services from seeking payment from an insured patient beyond cost sharing;
- Prohibits insurance policies from excluding coverage for a telehealth platform selected by an in-network provider;
- Prohibits insurance carriers from reducing reimbursement to a provider because services are provided through telehealth instead of in-person;
- Modifies requirements for pharmacies transferring unfilled prescriptions for controlled substances that were electronically transmitted.
In related action, the Insurance and Real Estate Committee of the Connecticut General Assembly held a public hearing on two bills related to telemedicine on March 15, 2021.
Those bills are:
The county medical association supports a permanent law allowing the continuance of telemedicine without the use of proprietary or credentialed software approved by a health insurance company. The association also supports payment parity for telemedicine visits with in-person visits.