Georgia State Telemedicine Fact Sheet

Two acts were unanimously passed by the Georgia State Senate.  Both laws become effective on January 1, 2020, and “All laws and parts of laws in conflict with this Act are repealed”.  Below is an overview of the new legislation and how it affects reimbursement for virtual care.

Legislation

Medical Practice Act of the State of Georgia | SB 115 – Allows healthcare providers in other states treat Georgia residents as long as they meet all applicable Georgia telehealth laws.

Georgia Telemedicine Act | SB 118 –  A direct effort to increase the prevalence of telemedicine and requires insurance companies to cover services.

Allows the originating site for a telehealth service to now be the home, office or retail location.

  • Includes remote patient monitoring (RPM) and store-and-forward.  Store-and-forward is particularly noteworthy – it’s currently only reimbursed for Medicaid.
  • Complete Reimbursement Parity: “on the same basis and at least at the rate that the insurer is responsible for coverage for the provision of the same service through in-person consultation or contact.”
  • Bans Reimbursement Caps – prevents insurers from requiring a connected care platform over in-person care and excluding telehealth coverage if an equal service is not provided in-person.
New Definitions:

SB118 expands the definitions for telehealth and telemedicine to be all-encompassing, increase reimbursement opportunities, and patient participation.

Telehealth adds remote patient monitoring and telephone coverage, while telemedicine adds store-and-forward and widens parity opportunities.

Telehealth: “the use of information and communications technologies, including, but not limited to, telephones, remote patient monitoring devices or other electronic means which support clinical health care, provider consultation, patient and professional health-related education, public health, and health administration.”

Telemedicine: “a form of telehealth which is the delivery of clinical health care services by means of real-time two-way audio, visual, or other telecommunications or electronic communications, including the application of secure video conferencing or store and forward transfer technology to provide or support health care delivery, which facilitate the assessment, diagnosis, consultation, treatment, education, care management, and self-management of a patient’s health care by a health care provider practicing within his or her scope of practice as would be practiced in-person with a patient, and legally allowed to practice in this state, while such patient is at an originating site and the health care provider is at a distant site.”

These additions to Georgia’s virtual care laws open opportunities for increased care access and improved patient experience.  For more information on reimbursement regulations in Georgia, and throughout the country, visit our State Reimbursement Map.