Telemedicine Parity Legislation Introduced / by AzHHA

Greg Ensell, Vice President of Government Relations

The bill, introduced by Senators Heather Carter, Kate Brophy McGee and Rep. Nancy Barto among many others, seeks to expand access to telemedicine services across Arizona. Currently, Arizona law only requires commercial health insurers cover 10 specialties such as pulmonology and dermatology. With the proposed legislation, any healthcare service covered in-person by a commercial insurer will also be covered when provided through telemedicine.

“Telemedicine, in the limited areas where it’s been used, has profoundly impacted the health of patients and communities,” said bill prime sponsor Senator Heather Carter. “Telemedicine technology has advanced to the point where clinically effective treatment can be provided via telemedicine for hundreds of medical services.”

“Telemedicine is priority for many communities; especially, those in rural areas facing access to care obstacles and physician shortages,” said Carter. “Increasing access to telemedicine will help improve patient safety and the health of Arizonans.”

In addition to AzHHA, the measure has the support of nearly all healthcare groups including the Arizona Alliance for Community Health Centers, the Arizona Medical Association, the Arizona Osteopathic Medical Association, and the Health System Alliance of Arizona. 

Telemedicine coverage of all health services by commercial insurers, known as ‘full telemedicine parity,’ exists in at least 23 other states and Washington, DC. It helps bring critical healthcare resources to more communities, particularly in rural areas. In addition, it address healthcare workforce shortages throughout our state by making providers available through virtual means to provide consultation, exams, and training.