In 2012, Maryland officially mandated telehealth service coverage for private insurance companies, in an action that forced insurers to treat rural and urban patients the same before determining telehealth, among other considerations. That year, APA Practice Central reported that the state's regulations included audio and video media together, preventing insurers from denying coverage for telehealth services.
At the time, this put Maryland on a list along 12 other states that enacted similar requirements, including Georgia, Illinois and Virginia. Now, the state Health Care Commission is further supporting local telehealth activity with a total of $90,000 in grants. These will go to local health organizations and fund projects over the next two years.
The Star Democrat reports that recipients of these grants are required to use them in productive ways, including adopting an electronic health record system. The attention to this area could potentially encourage adoption at multiple levels of care, including emergency departments.
The Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene lists some of the most important benefits of local telehealth activity, including the way it can benefit multiple organizations.
"Telemedicine is an important strategy for Maryland to embrace for its cost reduction benefits and to improve access and delivery of health care services," the site reads. "Providers can experience instant access to other providers, a reduction of medical errors, an increase in efficiency with reduced travel and research times, and enhanced educational opportunities."
Funds will go to local health organizations and support projects over the next two years
Although complying with new regulations can be taxing for an organization, healthcare consulting firms will give these groups specialized support as they develop a compliance plan. This can help businesses plan for the future and judge the best course of action after new projects launch.