Murphy Signs Important Telehealth Legislation

178
Governor Phil Murphy




MORRIS COUNTY — Governor Murphy signed legislation (S-2559) that extends for the next two years the requirement adopted at the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic that health benefits plans reimburse health care providers for telehealth and telemedicine services at the same rate as in-person services, with limited exceptions. At the same time, the legislation charges the Department of Health with conducting an in-depth study of the utilization of telehealth and telemedicine and its effects on patient outcomes, quality and satisfaction, and access to care in order to inform future decisions on payment structure for these services.  This legislation will provide critical support to patients and providers while the State continues to address the challenges posed by the pandemic, and while the Department of Health evaluates how to best leverage payment and telemedicine to improve access to affordable care and maintain the highest quality of care possible.

“Telehealth and telemedicine services have been critical during the COVID-19 pandemic and will stay with us long after the pandemic is over,” said Governor Murphy. “New Jerseyans have greater access to the health care they need with the proliferation and expansion of these services, and with this legislation, we are ensuring that this new technology can remain viable as we emerge from the pandemic while also ensuring that New Jersey remains at the forefront of innovative health care policy that serves all New Jerseyans.”
“Throughout this pandemic, telemedicine has been a lifeline to vital health care services for many—especially those in underserved communities,”  said Department of Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli.”The Department will thoroughly assess the impact of pay parity in telehealth and telemedicine services and make thoughtful recommendations for the future.”

“In response to the pandemic, the state put in place measures to increase access to telehealth to ensure patients could visit a doctor or other medical provider remotely to receive care,” said Department of Banking and Insurance Commissioner Marlene Caride. “Telehealth remains a vital access point for health care, and this law continues to provide that access to residents while creating a process for the state to assess how the policy is working and to allow for any needed changes. This is a meaningful change that will assist residents in getting the health care they need, with the flexibility to visit a health care provider remotely from their own homes.”