AB 457 – California

Status: In Process
Year Introduced: 2021
Link: http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billNavClient.xhtml?bill_id=202120220AB457

Telehealth Patient Bill of Rights.
Existing law provides for the Medi-Cal program, which is administered by the State Department of Health Care Services, under which qualified low-income individuals receive health care services. The Medi-Cal program is, in part, governed and funded by federal Medicaid program provisions. Under existing law, Medi-Cal services may be provided pursuant to contracts with various types of managed care health plans, including through a county organized health system. Under existing law, in-person contact between a health care provider and a patient is not required under the Medi-Cal program for services appropriately provided through telehealth.
Existing law, the Knox-Keene Health Care Service Plan Act of 1975, provides for the licensure and regulation of health care service plans by the Department of Managed Health Care, and makes a willful violation of the act a crime. Existing law provides for the regulation of health insurers by the Department of Insurance. Existing law requires a contract issued, amended, or renewed on or after January 1, 2021, between a health care service plan or health insurer and a health care provider to require the plan or insurer to reimburse the provider for the diagnosis, consultation, or treatment of an enrollee, subscriber, insured, or policyholder appropriately delivered through telehealth services on the same basis and to the same extent as the same service through in-person diagnosis, consultation, or treatment.
This bill would create the TeleHealth Patient Bill of Rights, which would, among other things, protect the rights of a patient using telehealth to been seen by a health care provider with a physical presence within a reasonable geographic distance from the patient’s home, unless specified exceptions apply. The bill would require a health plan, as defined, to comply with the requirements in the Telehealth Patient Bill of Rights and to provide written notice to patients of all their rights under the Telehealth Bill of Rights. The bill would also exempt a health care service plan or a health insurer from the existing telehealth payment parity provisions for any interaction where the health care provider is not located within a reasonable geographic distance of the patient’s home, unless that provider holds specialized knowledge not available in the patient’s region. Because a willful violation of the bill’s requirements relative to health care service plans would be a crime, the bill would impose a state-mandated local program.
The California Constitution requires the state to reimburse local agencies and school districts for certain costs mandated by the state. Statutory provisions establish procedures for making that reimbursement.
This bill would provide that no reimbursement is required by this act for a specified reason.

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