General Session Speakers

How to Influence State Telehealth Policy

11:30 AM August 30th
Sarah Orth, Telehealth Senior Program Manager, Seattle Children's

State telehealth laws are fluid. The Washington State Telehealth Collaborative was formed through legislation in 2016 to provide a forum to improve the health of Washington residents through the collaboration and increasing public awareness of telehealth as a delivery mechanism. The state legislature looks to the Collaborative to advise on legislative changes to advance telehealth with the goal of increasing access to care.

Washington has several laws related to telehealth, including coverage parity for private payers and Medicaid, and defining telehealth. Participants in this session will learn how to find and assess current state laws to determine where language enhancements may be made to expand telehealth offerings. Some laws have unintentional operational consequences and can be edited to achieve the original spirit of the law. For example, the Collaborative reviewed the Washington law related to store and forward reimbursement by third-party payers.

In 2018, the Collaborative focused on three areas: 1) training providers on telemedicine; 2) cost-effectiveness of telemedicine; and 3) payment parity. This session will identify key sides of the discussion for each area and discuss the outcomes for telehealth laws in Washington. Participants will learn how to advocate for telehealth policy.
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