January 05, 2021

States Advance Telehealth and Radiation Control Legislation

Ohio’s House and Senate clear a bill that would modify radiation control rules and Massachusetts’ governor signs into law a bill providing coverage for telehealth services.


Massachusetts’ Gov. Charlie Baker signed SB 2984 into law. The law will require insurance coverage for telehealth services where the same in-person service would be covered and the use of telehealth is appropriate. The state’s Board of Registration in Medicine will permit physicians to obtain proxy credentialing and privileging for telehealth services with other healthcare providers or facilities that comply with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ conditions of participation for telehealth services.

The new law includes changes in the scope of practice for advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs). The APRNs will be able to order tests and therapeutics and to prescribe medication without physician supervision after two years of supervision by a physician or an independent nurse. The Nursing Board is authorized to promulgate regulations for APRNs relating to the ordering and interpreting of tests, the ordering and evaluation of treatment, and the use of therapeutics, provided that such services and related care shall not include the interpretation of tests that are beyond the scope of the nurse’s licensure and training. The Nursing Board must promulgate regulations, subject to approval by the Department of Public Health commissioner, to ensure that nurse practitioners, nurse anesthetists and psychiatric nurse mental health clinical specialists are subject to requirements commensurate to those that physicians are subject to under the Medicine Board, as they apply to the creation and public dissemination of individual profiles and licensure restrictions, disciplinary actions and reports, claims or reports of malpractice, communication with professional organizations, physical and mental examinations, investigation of complaints, and other aspects of professional conduct and discipline.

The law also includes out-of-network provisions, more specifically it authorizes the Secretary of Health and Human Services to develop a report and make recommendations on establishing an out-of-network commercial payment rate for emergency healthcare services and non-emergency healthcare services. Providers will be required to notify patients if they are outside of the patient’s insurance network and disclose charges, including any facility fees. If the provider is in-network, such disclosure needs to be provided only upon patient request.

Radiation Control

In Ohio, HB 210 cleared both chambers and is headed to the governor’s desk. The Ohio Radiological Society worked closely with the sponsor of the bill on the language regarding tuberculosis testing in childcare settings.

The legislation would provide the Director of Health with flexibility to deviate from the State Suggested Regulations for Control of Radiation if the deviation is warranted in Ohio and does not pose a health, environmental or safety risk. The new law would also allow radiation technologists to document contrast orders in the electronic health record according to the clinical guidelines of the hospital, when a physician orders an imaging test with contrast without the need for a second prescription.