State Telemedicine Policy Information

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Arkansas Telemedicine Policy

Arkansas Telemedicine Policy

Arkansas still has a little ways to go to improve their telemedicine policy. Although the state did pass a telemedicine parity law in March 2015, Arkansas places arbitrary limits on patient location and requires an in-person visit to establish a provider-patient relationship. These barriers aren’t impossible to overcome. They just require dedicated action from physicians and health leaders who are willing to tell policymakers what they need!

State Policy Overview

Medicaid

Yes

Private Payer

Yes

Parity

Yes

Additional State Telemedicine Info

Parity Laws

In April of 2015, Arkansas enacted a telemedicine parity law requiring coverage for telemedicine by Medicaid, private insurance, and state employee health plans.

Medicaid

Arkansas defines telemedicine as “medical services performed via an electronic transaction in real time. Telemedicine encounters will not be covered by Medicaid unless the practitioner and patient are able to see and hear each other live and in real time.

Type Of Telemedicine Covered

Arkansas Medicaid reimburses for live video. The state Medicaid program defines telemedicine as “Interactive electronic consultations [that] are physician consultations, ‘face-to-face’ in real time, via two-way electronic data exchange.” State employee health plans only cover store-and-forward for diabetic retinopathy screening.

Covered Health Services

Arkansas Medicaid reimburses for the following telemedicine services:

  • Consults
  • Fetal echography and echocardiography
  • Non-emergency visits in a physician’s office, a clinic or a hospital outpatient department
  • Inpatient hospital visits
  • Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHC) encounters

Medicaid covers two visits per patient, per year. Arkansas also reimburses for Telepsychiatry services under the Rehabilitative Services for Persons with Mental Illness (RSPMI) program. Check your AR Medicaid manual for more details.

Eligible Healthcare Providers

Arkansas does not have any regulations on eligible providers currently.

Online Prescriptions

In Arkansas, if there’s no existing provider-patient relationship, providers can’t write prescriptions based on an Internet questionnaire, an Internet consult, or a telephone consult. Doctors are not allowed to prescribe a controlled substance (schedules II through V) without establishing a relationship in-person.

Informed Patient Consent

Healthcare professionals must follow applicable state and federal laws, rules and regulations for informed consent.

Cross-State Telemedicine Licensing

Arkansas has not yet joined the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact that would more easily allow out-of-state providers to treat Arkansas patients via telemedicine. Currently, any provider doing telemedicine with AR patients has to have an Arkansas medical license.

Restrictions On Locations

The most recent Arkansas Telemedicine Law says a patient has to be at a health provider’s office or another healthcare facility for the telemedicine visit. Arkansas Medicaid requires the patient to be at an eligible originating site:

  • In-patient or non-emergency hospital
  • Physician office or clinic
  • Ambulatory surgical center
  • FQHC; or
  • Emergency department.

Other Restrictions

Arkansas Medicaid will reimburse for up to two visits per patient, per year.

Patients must be in a physician’s office or a hospital.

Reimbursement Rates

Arkansas requires private payers to reimburse for live video telemedicine services at the same rate as services provided in-person.