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March 19, 2020

By: Brandon W. Shirley and Meghan M. Linvill McNab

The Indiana Medicaid program released a statement on March 19, 2020 announcing new coverage policies to make it easier to provide telemedicine services to patients during the public health emergency declaration as announced by Governor Holcomb. Effective immediately, Indiana Medicaid will cover most health services, including covered mental health services and Medicaid home and community-based services, through telemedicine. The statement specifies that such visits may occur through “phone or through the use of telemedicine technologies whenever possible” and applies to both Medicaid fee-for-service and Medicaid managed care payments.  

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. The statement does not specify which “telemedicine technologies” are permissible but promises that more information will be published via agency bulletins or banners.  

The statement follows a new Executive Order from the Indiana Governor directing the Family and Social Services Administration to adopt these and other changes to loosen existing restrictions to help address the growing public health emergency. The statement also follows recent announcements from Federal agencies that expanded telehealth options for Medicare covered services and announced a temporary halt to enforcing privacy laws under HIPAA during the public health emergency to enable more telehealth technologies. It is important to remember that these are temporary measures that are intended to continue so long as the various public health emergency declarations are in effect.

If you have questions about temporary Medicaid policy changes to address the COVID-19 health emergency, please contact Brandon W. Shirley, or Meghan M. Linvill McNab.