Published in Health Care

Whitmer signs bills expanding telemedicine access

BY MIBIZ STAFF Wednesday, June 24, 2020 04:38pm

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has signed a package of bills expanding access to telemedicine, codifying into law provisions of an earlier executive order.

The bipartisan, five-bill package makes permanent an executive order issued in response to the COVID-19 pandemic that requires the state’s Medicaid and Healthy Michigan programs to cover the cost of a telemedicine session at a patient’s home or school. The order “broadly expanded access to telemedicine as part of Michigan’s emergency response to the COVID-19 pandemic,” Whitmer said in a statement.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer COURTESY PHOTO

“Nevertheless, the virtues of telemedicine are not unique to this moment, so Michiganders will benefit from reduced costs, increased accessibility, and lower transmission rates of infectious diseases at the doctor’s office for years to come,” Whitmer added.

The new law takes effect with the state’s next fiscal year that begins Oct. 1.

A Senate Fiscal Agency analysis this month noted that the legislation “would lead to greater access to telemedicine services and would be expected to lead to a marginal increase in demand for Medicaid services in both the managed care and fee-for-service realms.”

That could lead to higher Medicaid costs for the state, although there “is the possibility that easier access also could lead to improved outcomes for clients and those improved outcomes could lead to a marginal reduction in Medicaid expenditures,” according to the agency’s analysis.

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