WSHA commented on the Health Care Authority’s (HCA) preproposal draft rule for ESSB 1196, which was passed during the 2021 legislative session. ESSB 1196 builds on Washington state’s telemedicine payment parity law by requiring reimbursement for audio-only telemedicine to be paid at “the same amount of compensation the carrier would pay the provider if the health care service was provided in person by the provider.” WSHA identified portions of the rule that that did not align with ESSB 1196 – specifically, it assigns determinations regarding the safety and efficacy telemedicine delivery to the HCA and applies the in-person visit requirement specific to audio-only behavioral health telemedicine services to all health care services provided through store and forward technology. WSHA suggested edits and removal of language to ensure alignment with the authorizing law and with generally accepted health care practices and standards.
WSHA also commented on the recordkeeping requirements, citing concerns about billing issues and potential administrative burden if providers were required to document the start and end times of a visit instead of the duration of a visit. WSHA suggested this requirement either be removed or be amended to the “start and end time or duration of service (when billing a code based on time).” After HCA considers the comments it receives, it will issue either another prepublication draft for comments or a formal draft with hearing and comment period. (Katerina LaMarche, firstname.lastname@example.org)