Legislative Update – August 2017
Telemedicine – On July 21, 2017, Governor Chris Christie signed into law S291 to define and regulate the practice of telemedicine in New Jersey. The bill enables providers to use telemedicine to establish a provider-patient relationship; provides for the same standards of care as an in-person visit; and ensures coverage and payment parity for private payers, state Medicaid, and some other health plans.
Physical Therapy Statute – On June 21, 2017, Governor Chris Christie signed into law S1315 which revises the Physical Therapist Licensing Act. The bill expands the scope of practice for physical therapists to include: identification of balance disorders; wound debridement and care; utilization review; and screening, examination, evaluation, and application of interventions in populations of all ages exclusively related to physical therapy practice. The bill also provides for general or direct supervision of physical therapist assistants, as opposed to only direct supervision.
Governor Vetoes Personal Care Assistant Legislation – On July 21, 2017, Governor Chris Christie conditionally vetoed bill A320/S1018. The proposed bill requires the minimum hourly reimbursement rate for personal care services funded through a Medicaid managed care organization to be no less than the established Medicaid fee-for-service rate for these same services. The reason for the veto is that adjusting the managed care rates will have a significant impact on the state budget and there is no appropriation for the expanded costs in the Fiscal Year 2018 Appropriations Act.
Health Insurer Gender Discrimination – On July 21, 2017, Governor Chris Christie signed into law A4568 which prohibits health insurers, the State Health Benefits Program, the School Employees’ Health Benefits Program, certain health care providers, and Medicaid from discriminating in providing coverage and services based on gender identity.
New Jersey Health Insurance Advocate Act – On July 4, 2017, S3408 was introduced in the New Jersey Senate. The bill establishes the Office of the Health Care Advocate in the Department of Banking and Insurance as an advocate for health insurance consumers in New Jersey. The advocate would help health insurance consumers in all types of private and public health insurance plans to navigate the purchase of health insurance, as well as obtain access to care.