BALTIMORE (October 22, 2013)— The Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene’s (DHMH) Medical Assistance (Medicaid) Program will now reimburse approved health care providers for services delivered via telemedicine.
Maryland Medicaid is implementing two telemedicine programs—the Rural Access Telemedicine Program and the Cardiovascular Disease and Stroke Telemedicine Program—to improve participant access to consulting Medicaid providers when an appropriate specialist is not available to provide a timely consultation. The new programs expand upon the Mental Hygiene Administration’s Telemental Health Program, implemented in 2010.
“Telemedicine expands access to specialists and their expert knowledge,” said Dr. Joshua M. Sharfstein, Secretary of DHMH. “These new programs will allow Medicaid recipients in under-served parts of the state to access critical services.”
The Cardiovascular Disease and Stroke Telemedicine Program is a direct result of legislation championed by Sen. Catherine Pugh and Del. Susan C. Lee in the 2013 legislative session.
“I am excited to have led this legislation along with Delegate Susan Lee that will help reduce the cost of health care to Medicaid patients," said Senator Pugh. "I look forward to our continued expansion of telemedicine and the impact it will ultimately have on all areas of need for patients depending on Medicaid.”
"I commend Secretary Sharfstein and his outstanding team at DHMH for working closely with me and Senator Pugh in passing our legislation to extend coverage to individuals in some of our most vulnerable and underserved communities, thereby saving lives, improving outcomes, and reducing health care costs and disparities,” said Delegate Lee.
To participate, a patient goes to an “originating site,” where an on-site provider would initiate a consultation via telemedicine with a consulting provider at a “distant site.” The service is available to all Maryland Medicaid enrollees.
Providers must be able to support real-time, secure audio and video telecommunication to participate in the Telemedicine program. Providers must also submit to the Department a Telemedicine Provider application, indicating with which of the two telemedicine programs they intend to participate, documenting the mutual service agreement between the “distant site” and “originating site” providers, and attesting to telemedicine transmission capability.
The Rural Access Telemedicine Program’s eligible originating site providers are limited to service locations within 15 designated rural areas in Maryland, including Allegany, Calvert, Caroline, Cecil, Charles, Dorchester, Garret, Kent, St. Mary’s, Somerset, Talbot, Queen Anne’s, Worcester, Wicomico, and Washington counties.
The Cardiovascular Disease and Stroke Program’s originating site providers may be located in hospital emergency departments, but are not limited by geographic location.
For both programs, distant site providers may be located anywhere in Maryland, the District of Columbia, or any contiguous state, but must be licensed to practice medicine in the State of Maryland.