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What You Should Know About:

Medicaid Telehealth Services During the Coronavirus Emergency

Telehealth is the use of communication technologies, by phone or online, that allows providers to deliver health care to patients at a distance.

Does Medicaid cover telehealth services?
  • In response to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), coverage for both Medicaid fee-for-service and Medicaid managed care plans have expanded to cover telehealth by all Medicaid-qualified doctors and service providers whenever possible, to avoid the spread of the virus.
What telehealth services does Medicaid cover?
  • Medicaid-covered telehealth services include any Medicaid-covered health or mental health service that can be provided remotely, and can include telephonic (over the phone), telemedicine (internet-based audio/visual), telehealth equipment and devices, and remote patient monitoring.
Where can I receive telehealth services?
  • During the COVID-19 State of Emergency, telehealth services can be received anywhere you are located in New York State at the time health care services are delivered.
Who can provide telehealth services?
  • During the COVID-19 State of Emergency, all Medicaid providers can use telehealth to provide services they would normally provide in the office, as long as the services are appropriate for telehealth.
  • Telehealth can be used for health care visits that would otherwise take place in a medical office, clinic or other locations (e.g., health centers, day programs).
  • Depending on the service, providers can include physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, midwives, dentists, registered nurses, as well as other practitioners (e.g., psychologists, social workers, dieticians).
How is my privacy protected when I receive telehealth services?
  • Federal and state privacy protections (like the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act [HIPAA]) still apply to protect your confidentiality and privacy, with some helpful changes in place during the COVID-19 State of Emergency, like letting you authorize certain aspects of your care verbally, using online programs like Facetime or Skype.
  • Telehealth services shall not be recorded without your permission.
How do I receive telehealth services?
  • Call your doctor’s office or health care provider. They will help you access telehealth services as appropriate.
Do I need special equipment to receive telehealth services?
  • Generally, no. Telehealth equipment varies depending on the type of care being provided, and can include:
    • Telephonic service and use of a telephone for audio-only communications with your provider.
    • Internet access via a personal computer, tablet, smartphone, or other similar device for video conferencing, image/data transfer, and remote monitoring equipment used by your provider.
  • Your provider may also work with you to use technology and other instruments to monitor your blood pressure or oxygen levels while you stay at home.

What if I do not have the phone or internet service needed for telehealth?

During the COVID-19 State of Emergency, many cell phone companies and internet providers are including some of their services at no cost for eligible consumers.
These include:

  • Free Wi-fi/internet:
    • Households with K-12 and college students, and those who qualify as low-income, may recieve free Wi-Fi/ internet.
    • Call your service provider to see if you qualify.
  • Unlimited data and cell phone minutes:
    • Many cell and internet companies are offering unlimited data plans for no additional charge.
    • Call your service provider for more information.
  • SafeLink Wireless:
    • Subscribers get up to 350 minutes and 3GB of data
    • Call 1-800-SafeLink (723-3546) for enrollment and plan changes support.