Telehealth use for Medicaid programs by state: 6 findings

A Government Accountability Office report found individual state Medicaid programs use telehealth and remote patient monitoring services differently.

In the report, the GAO interviewed officials from six states on telehealth and remote patient monitoring in their Medicaid programs.

Here are six findings:

1. In Connecticut, an official said the Medicaid program allows provider-to-provider consults using secure messaging in federally qualified health centers. In 2015, the state spent $89,053 on 817 of these encounters.

2. An Illinois official told the GAO telehealth is primarily reserved for psychiatric services.

3. In January 2015, Mississippi started reimbursing providers for telehealth and remote patient monitoring. The state's Medicaid expenditures totaled $27,634 for 292 claims for 158 managed care patients and $4,969 for 99 claims for 68 fee-for-service patients for remote patient monitoring series.

4. Officials said Montana used telehealth to allow patients to see in-state and out-of-state specialists remotely.

5. A Kansas official said the state does not limit reimbursement based on patient location, but reimburses providers for home-based telehealth. The state conducted a remote patient monitoring pilot project from September 2007 through June 2010 and found telehealth is a "valuable" tool.

6. Oregon reimburses providers for medically appropriate covered telehealth services within a patient's benefit package. Officials said the state uses remote patient monitoring and telehealth through the coordinated care organizations.

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