The Indiana Family and Social Services Administration announced last week that Indiana Medicaid will allow interactions between patients and doctors and other health care providers, as well as other Medicaid service deliveries, to occur either over the phone or through the use of telemedicine technologies whenever possible.
The initiative aims to help contain the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19). Effective immediately, most health services – including covered mental health services and Medicaid home- and community-based services – will be reimbursed as if they took place in person. This policy will remain in place – and telemedicine/telephone interactions will be encouraged – for as long as Indiana remains under a declaration of a public health emergency by Governor Eric Holcomb.
“As we continue our work to protect the health of Hoosiers, in-person human interactions must be held to an absolute minimum and, in this extraordinary time, that must include contact between doctors, other health care professionals and patients,” said Jennifer Sullivan, M.D., M.P.H., FSSA Secretary. “We also hope this will help Hoosiers get the care they need faster and more efficiently, while helping reserve our emergency rooms and hospital beds for sick patients who truly need a higher level of care during this public health emergency.”
Telephone and telemedicine visits will be covered for both in- and out-of-state providers and for all covered services, with some exceptions for certain services that require physical interaction. These exceptions include surgical procedures, radiology, laboratory services, anesthesia services, audiological services and chiropractor services.
Reimbursement will be allowed for covered services for both Traditional (fee-for-service) Medicaid as well as all managed care programs. All services rendered must be within the provider’s applicable licensure and scope of practice. Neither text nor email messages will be reimbursable.
Indiana Medicaid recommends patients call their health care providers to inquire about telephone/telehealth visit options, especially if the patient has an appointment scheduled.