U.S. versus E.U. on Telehealth

Everywhere in the world telehealth is expanding rapidly. Not surprisingly, the expanded use of telehealth presents many of the same regulatory and reimbursement challenges. It’s great to hear that: “Particulary Europe is taking steps to expand telehealth across borders, because the European Commission has removed and revisited existing regulations”.

What is different about these licensure requirements between the E.U. and the U.S.? In the EU a doctor is practicing medicine legally if he/she complies with the licensure requirements of his/her own member state and treats the patient from within his/her member state. So it does not matter where the patient is located. In the U.S. the doctor must be licensed in the state where the patient lives. So for the U.S. doctors ‘borders exceeding treating’ is complicated.

The regulations also reveal what the reimbursement differences of telehealth are. In the U.S., Medicare reimbursement has not kept up with the times. However, about a third of the states have adopted legislation known as; “Telehealth parity statutes”. These statutes require private insurers to cover telehealth services if they would otherwise cover in-person provided services. So this is a good beginning for the U.S.. But E.U. has the Directive 2011/24/EU Article 3(d) which is on the application of patiens’ rights in cross border healthcare stating that cross border healthcare services utilizing telehealth or other types of eHealth services must be reimbursed if the individual or patient resides in a country that reimburses the service.

Source: Epstein Becker Green

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