ND Lawmakers unplug telehealth payments bill

Published: Apr. 5, 2021 at 6:29 PM CDT
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - Telehealth was expanded and relied on when people were nervous to go to clinics, but now they’re becoming more institutional.

Now, hospitals and insurance companies have models for pricing telehealth services.

The North Dakota House voted down a pilot project to have clinics charge the same for virtual services as in-person services.

While some have developed models to make the costs work, smaller communities are struggling to keep up.

“Rural health care needs this. They need to be reimbursed. Currently, they’re not being reimbursed at a fair rate, not very much of a rate at all. It’s not sustainable. So in our rural health clinics, we’e not going to do telehealth unless it comes on board with the insurance companies,” said Rep. Greg Westlind, R-Cando.

The bill failed 64 – 29 after many in the chamber called the project “price-setting” and an insurance mandate.

Many also said the would lead to higher insurance premiums and other costs, and cost the state $2.4 million over the next two years according to a state study.

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