Telehealth is an emerging strategy to address access and quality of care issues. The term telehealth includes subtopics such as an exchange of medical information from one site to another via electronic communications for the purpose of providing clinical support or care; remote clinical care and patient monitoring; e-health; professional and patient-related health education; and health information management.

On September 13, 2012, the State Medical Board of Ohio (SMBO) adopted an interpretive guideline concerning Ohio Administrative Code Rule 4731-11-09 and the requirement to personally physically examine and diagnose a patient prior to initially prescribing. The interpretive guideline applies solely to cases that involve prescribing or personally furnishing non-controlled substances and recognizes that with advances in medical technology it may be possible for the “personal” and “physical” examination, required by Rule 4731-11-09, to occur when the provider and patient are located in remote locations.

On January 29, 2014, the Ohio Senate passed House Bill 123. The bill doesn’t attempt to establish standards for payment for telemedicine services, but instead requires Medicaid to establish those standards. The bill neglects to set any payment standards for private insurers relative to telemedicine services choosing to focus on Medicaid payments alone.

On January 2, 2015, Ohio Medicaid telemedicine payment rule OAC 5160-1-18 went into effect and approved billing instructions for the rule were released.

On March 9, 2016, the SMBO policy committee met to discuss a framework for development of a “Prescribing to Patients Not Seen” rule that was mandated with passage of House Bill 188. According to the legislation, the SMBO must have a telehealth/telemedicine rule in place by the end of calendar year 2016.

In July 2016, the SMBO submitted draft rules to the Common Sense Initiative for review and interested parties were invited to submit comments. Pursuant to comments received, the SMBO amended the proposed language originally filed to reflect the feedback received. That amended language was approved by the SMBO at its meeting on September 14, 2016, and a public hearing on the proposed rules is scheduled for Thursday, December 8, 2016.

Ohio Academy of Family Physician Resources

Health Policy Institute of Ohio Resources

Additional Information and Resources