In December 2021, Governor DeWine signed into law HB 122, which will expand telehealth services in Ohio. The law takes effect in March 2022 and is in response to more patients relying on telehealth over the past two years during the height of the COVID pandemic, and more providers becoming comfortable with delivering services virtually. Telehealth is now a normalized healthcare delivery system nationwide. Beyond the safety benefits inherent in telehealth services, telehealth has made healthcare more accessible and more affordable for more people.
HB 122 At a Glance
HB 122 broadly expands the list of providers who can bill for telehealth services and replaces outdated regulations that limited access to telehealth care. Before HB 122, only physicians, physician assistants and advanced practice registered nurses could provide services via telehealth. HB 122 expands telemedicine use to include psychologists, speech and hearing therapists, physical therapists, counselors and social workers, dietitians, optometrists, chiropractors and several other health care specialties.1 The law also removes the requirement that a patient's initial visit be in-person and instead allows initial and annual patient visits to be conducted virtually.
HB 122 requires both public (i.e., Medicaid and Medicare) and private insurance to cover telehealth services. Additionally, the law prohibits health plans from imposing cost sharing for telehealth services that exceeds the cost sharing for equivalent in-person services.
Finally, HB 122 applies to more regulated treatment modalities. The law will allow physicians authorized to prescribe medical marijuana to conduct the required in-person patient exams via telehealth. While most patients that are prescribed a schedule II controlled substances are required to still attend their initial visit in-person, HB 122 sets forth several exceptions that allow for an initial visit via telehealth, including if 1) the patient is in palliative or hospice care; 2) the patient receives medication-assisted treatment for opioid use disorder; 3) the patient is currently under treatment for a diagnosed mental health condition; or 4) the patient is treated in an emergency situation.
1. The full list of allowed providers is: Advanced practice registered nurses; Optometrists licensed to practice under a therapeutic pharmaceutical agents certificate; Pharmacists; Physician assistants; Physicians; Psychologists and school psychologists, including school psychologists licensed under State Board of Education rules; Chiropractors; Audiologists and speech-language pathologists; Occupational therapists and physical therapists; Occupational therapy assistants and physical therapist assistants; Professional clinical counselors, independent social workers, and independent marriage and family therapists; Independent chemical dependency counselors; Certified Ohio behavior analysts; Dietitians; Respiratory care professionals; and Genetic counselors.
Originally published 10 February 2022
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