Delay of Medicaid changes removed from telehealth bill

A bill that would make changes to telehealth provision in Nebraska was amended April 8 to remove provisions related to proposed Medicaid changes.

As originally introduced by Lincoln Sen. Kathy Campbell, LB1076, would require that proposed changes in Medicaid authorization and payment for medically necessary home health services and reimbursement rates be delayed until the state Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has reviewed the results of other state’s pilot programs.

The bill would mandate that there be no reduction in reimbursement rates and no changes in limitations on services for Medicaid home health. Services that would be retained would include, but not be limited to, more than one home health visit in a day to provide skilled nursing services, nursing services and aide services.

The bill was amended on select file to add provisions of LB1078, introduced by Omaha Sen. Jeremy Nordquist, related to telehealth service provision in Nebraska. The provisions would update the definition of telehealth—the electronic exchange of information—for the purpose of monitoring a patient from a remote location and transmitting patient data electronically to a health care practitioner for analysis and storage.

The measure also would clarify that the reimbursement rate for a telehealth consultation be set at least as high as the Medicaid rate for a comparable in-person consultation regardless of the distance between the health care practitioner and the patient.

Campbell filed a motion, adopted 38-0, to return the bill to select file for consideration of an amendment to remove the original content of LB1076, leaving the telehealth provisions.

She said DHHS had agreed to eliminate the proposed Medicaid changes that led her to introduce the original bill.

“The department said, we will provide to you … an assurance that all of the components of LB1076 would be addressed by the department without the need of a bill,” Campbell said.

Following adoption of the amendment on a 40-0 vote, the bill was re-advanced to final reading by voice vote.

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