Advocacy to protect Audio Only
July 1, 2021
As you know the NYS Council has been advocating with leaders at the Department of Financial Services (DFS) to extend its’ current emergency regulation that requires private health plans to reimburse providers for services utilizing the audio only modality beyond the current July 6 expiration date. The status of the DFS regulations is posted here: https://www.dfs.ny.gov/industry_guidance/regulations/emergency_insurance
We continue to advocate for a renewal of the regulation however at this time we don’t have information as to whether the 62nd Amendment will be renewed.
In an effort to compel the Department to continue the regulation yesterday I wrote a letter to the DFS Superintendent on behalf of a broad group of advocacy organizations. I had help from the group and we quickly got it out the door. You will note that the NYS Psychiatric Association, the NYS Psychological Association and the NYS Society for Clinical Social Work also signed on to the letter (attached). Thanks are due to Karin Carreau of Carreau Consulting for rapidly seeking sign on approval from the Psychiatric Association, the Psychologists and the Clinical Social Workers.
We will continue our efforts to compel DFS to do the right thing and extend the emergency regulation for at least the same amount of time that has been granted in the NYS Medicaid Program.
LAWS OF NEW YORK, 2020 CHAPTER 124 AN ACT to amend the public health law, in relation to including audio- only and video-only telehealth and telemedicine services in those telehealth and telemedicine services eligible for reimbursement Became a law June 17, 2020, with the approval of the Governor. Passed by a majority vote, three-fifths being present. The People of the State of New York, represented in Senate and Assem- bly, do enact as follows: Section 1. Subdivision 4 of section 2999-cc of the public health law, as added by chapter 6 of the laws of 2015, is amended to read as follows: 4. "Telehealth" means the use of electronic information and communi- cation technologies by telehealth providers to deliver health care services, which shall include the assessment, diagnosis, consultation, treatment, education, care management and/or self-management of a patient. Telehealth shall not include delivery of health care services by means of [
audio-only telephone communication,] facsimile machines, or electronic messaging alone, though use of these technologies is not precluded if used in conjunction with telemedicine, store and forward technology, or remote patient monitoring. For purposes of this section, telehealth shall be limited to telemedicine, store and forward technolo- gy, [ and] remote patient monitoring and audio-only telephone communi- cation, except that with respect to the medical assistance program established under section three hundred sixty-six of the social services law, and the child health insurance plan under title one-A of article twenty-five of this chapter, telehealth shall include audio-only tele- phone communication only to the extent defined in regulations as may be promulgated by the commissioner. This subdivision shall not preclude the delivery of health care services by means of "home telehealth" as used in section thirty-six hundred fourteen of this chapter. § 2. Section 2999-ee of the public health law, as added by section 3 of part HH of chapter 56 of the laws of 2020, is amended to read as follows: § 2999-ee. Increased application of telehealth. In order to increase the application of telehealth in behavioral health, oral health, mater- nity care, care management, services provided in emergency departments, and services provided to certain high-need populations to the extent such services are deemed appropriate for the populations served, and notwithstanding the definitions set forth in section twenty-nine hundred ninety-nine-cc of this article, in consultation with the commissioner of the office of children and family services, the commissioner of the office of mental health, the commissioner of the office of addiction services and supports, or the commissioner of the office for people with developmental disabilities, as applicable, the commissioner may specify in regulation additional acceptable modalities for the delivery of health care services via telehealth, including but not limited to audi- o-only or video-only telephone communications, online portals and survey EXPLANATION--Matter in italics is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted.
CHAP. 124 2 applications, and may specify additional categories of originating sites at which a patient may be located at the time health care services are delivered to the extent such additional modalities and originating sites are deemed appropriate for the populations served. § 3. Subdivision 1 of section 2999-dd of the public health law, as amended by section 2 of part HH of chapter 56 of the laws of 2020, is amended to read as follows: 1. Health care services delivered by means of telehealth shall be entitled to reimbursement under section three hundred sixty-seven-u of the social services law; provided however, reimbursement for additional modalities, provider categories and originating sites specified in accordance with section twenty-nine hundred ninety-nine-ee of this arti- cle, and audio-only telephone communication defined in regulations promulgated pursuant to subdivision four of section twenty-nine hundred ninety-nine-cc of this article, shall be contingent upon federal finan- cial participation. § 4. This act shall take effect immediately. The Legislature of the STATE OF NEW YORK ss: Pursuant to the authority vested in us by section 70-b of the Public Officers Law, we hereby jointly certify that this slip copy of this session law was printed under our direction and, in accordance with such section, is entitled to be read into evidence. ANDREA STEWART-COUSINS CARL E. HEASTIE Temporary President of the Senate Speaker of the Assemb