Expanded access to telehealth begins July 1

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) –Recent legislation expands access to telehealth services in the Commonwealth, especially for Medicaid participants.

Senate Bill 112 passed the General Assembly in 2018, with an effective date of July 1, 2019.

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The legislation allows a patient to remain in their home, or be present at a local health facility, and consult with a provider via video conference.

While the provider must be licensed in Kentucky, they are no longer required to be certified by a telehealth board. Medicaid reimbursement rates for telehealth are equal to the rates paid by insurers for an in-person visit.

“Our recent expansion in telehealth represents our commitment to expanding access to health care for all Medicaid beneficiaries, especially those located in our most rural communities,” said Carol Steckel, Commissioner of the Department for Medicaid Services.

“I believe that this effort is just the beginning,” she added. “We will continue to pursue innovative ways to link our communities to improve the health of the Commonwealth.”

The benefits of telehealth include reduced travel time for patients, more effective case management for chronic conditions, and increased access to providers, especially in rural areas.

To schedule a telehealth visit, a patient needs to contact their provider, just as they do for an in-person visit.  Providers are tasked with ensuring telehealth services are delivered securely. 

Kentucky’s telehealth program is developing a website to provide information and resources on policy and guidelines pertaining to telehealth. The portal should be available in July.

Additional information is available at http://chfs.ky.gov/.

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Tom Kenny joined ABC 36 News in June of 2001 as a General Assignment Reporter. A native of Peoria, Illinois, he graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communications from Western Illinois University. He currently anchors ABC 36 News at 5pm, 6pm and 11pm. Tom has more than three decades of experience in broadcast journalism. He is the only broadcast journalist in Lexington television history to be honored with a national Edward R. Murrow Award. Tom was recognized for reporting on a story that gave a rare glimpse inside the secretive world of the Federal Witness Protection Program. He has won an Emmy Award for anchoring and another for investigative reporting, exposing the deceit and potential danger of online diploma mills. Tom has ten other Emmy nominations to his credit for investigative and feature reporting. He has won Associated Press Awards for reporting and anchoring. He has won two Addy Awards for excellence in promotional writing. Tom was the first broadcast journalist in Lexington TV history to be awarded the Silver Circle Award by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. It is one of the highest honors given by NATAS. It recognizes television professionals who have performed distinguished service within the television industry for 25-years or more. Tom was honored for more than his longevity, he was recognized for making an enduring contribution to the vitality of the television industry and for setting high standards of achievement. He was also recognized for giving back to the community as a mentor, educator and volunteer. Tom also has network broadcast experience in radio and television having worked as a sports reporter for ESPN, Sportschannel, NBC Sports and the Breeders’ Cup. He was also the studio host and halftime producer for CBS Radio Sports’ College Football Game of the Week and covered the NFL for One-On-One Radio Sports. Prior to joining WTVQ-TV, Tom was Vice-President of the Houston Astros Minor League baseball team in Lexington. He was part of the original management team that brought professional baseball back to the Bluegrass after a nearly 50-year absence. Tom has lived in Lexington since 1984. In that time, he has been heavily involved with dozens of charity and civic groups, with a special emphasis on helping Veterans. He can be reached at tkenny@wtvq.com. You can also follow Tom on Facebook www.facebook.com/TomKennyABC and Twitter @TomKennyNews. Just click on the links at the top of the page.