It’s a Texas Thing
In the wake of Hurricane Harvey, the people of the great state of Texas have once again risen to to help those in need. The State Legislature recently passed & amended a series of laws to allow the widespread practice of teletherapy in schools. They also expanded Medicare and Medicaid to include coverage of these services.
The laws took effect on September 1 and will positively impact special education programs in K12 schools throughout the state. They will specifically expand the schools’ ability to provide related services, including speech and occupational therapy, as well as counseling & mental health services via online practitioners. In the past, many of programs have struggled to provide these services due to labor supply shortages as well as geographic and economic constraints. The changes will bring much needed relief.
Teletherapy Legislation Highlights
- HB 2123 and identical companion bill SB 922 amend the Government Code to ensure Medicaid reimbursement is offered to a school district or charter school for teletherapy services provided through the school or district even when the service-providing health professional isn’t the patient’s primary care physician or supplier (“PCP”).
- Under HB 2123 and SB 922, reimbursement will still require the school district or charter school to be a licensed healthcare provider under Medicaid, the consent of the parent or guardian, and the presence of some other health professional.
- SB1107 and HB 2697 will allow practitioners and patients to establish a relationship without requiring an in-person consultation.
- HB 2697 will subject a few of their state’s Medicaid telemedicine policies to new rule making to establish separate identifiers for telemedicine providers and for services eligible for reimbursement.
With the rising popularity of teletherapy (aka telemedicine, telehealth, or telepractice), more and more states are passing legislation to embrace it and create more benefits for individuals, schools and communities. Texas is the 26th state to pass laws not only enabling the practice of telehealth for related services, but also providing critical Medicaid reimbursement.
eLuma celebrates these legislative developments as we know that they will increase the availability of services and care to students in need. We look forward to serving the people in this great state!