COVID-19: Colorado Issues Emergency Order to Expand Use of Telehealth Services
To expand the use of telehealth services during the COVID-19 emergency, Colorado Governor Jarod Polis issued Executive Order D 2020 020 (the Order) on April 1, 2020. The Order temporarily suspends or alters certain telehealth statutes in order to increase access and availability of telehealth services.
The key provisions of the Order, which will remain in place for 30 days, are summarized below.
Health Benefit Plan Coverage of Telehealth Services
The Order temporarily suspends the statutory definition and exclusions of “telehealth” under the health care insurance laws (see Colo. Rev. Stat. § 10-16-123(4)(e)) to expand the scope of services that can be provided via telehealth during this time. Under these suspensions, telehealth services covered by insurance can include voice-only telephone communication, text messaging, fax, and/or email. Under the Order, reimbursement of telehealth services is not subject to all the terms and conditions of the health benefit plan. The Order also suspends the statutory provision that health benefit plans are not required to reimburse consultations provided by telephone or fax unless those consultations were provided through HIPAA-compliant interactive audio-visual communication or HIPAA compliant cell phone application.
Expanded Out-of-State Telehealth Providers Licensure Exception
Out-of-state psychologists, marriage and family therapists, clinical social workers, professional counselors, and addiction counselors may temporarily exceed the statutory maximum twenty days per year of performing activities or services in Colorado without being licensed in Colorado.
Health care providers should keep in mind that this is a quickly evolving situation and legal changes and waivers are being promulgated on a daily basis. Thus, health care providers should consult with legal counsel or applicable regulatory agencies related to any future legal developments. Health care providers should take additional steps now to mitigate the risk of suffering negative impacts from the coronavirus.
For more information, please contact your Foley relationship partner or the Foley colleagues listed below. For additional web-based resources available to assist you in monitoring the spread of the coronavirus on a global basis, you may wish to visit the websites of the CDC and the World Health Organization.