Dates, Other Info on Telemedicine-Related Legislation Passed in 2021

As of July 25, physicians and other providers who bill for audio-only telemedicine services must obtain patient consent prior to rendering the service. According to an update from the Washington Medical Commission, this rule is applicable to private health plans, PEBB/SEBB plans, behavioral health administrative services organizations and managed care organizations contracted with the Health Care Authority, and Medicaid managed care plans contracted with the Health Care Authority. Repeated instances of failure to receive consent will now constitute unprofessional conduct.

Beginning in 2023, physicians and other providers must have an established relationship with the patient to bill for audio-only telemedicine at the same rate as an in-person visit. An established relationship is defined as “a prior in-person visit within the last year with the provider, another provider at the same clinic, or with the referring provider,” per WMC.

WMC also notes that allopathic and osteopathic physicians in Washington may now consult with physicians and other providers in other states for the diagnosis and treatment of patients who have an established relationship with the Washington-based physician.