Maryland’s Telehealth Law Becomes Model Legislation for the Rest of the Country

While Maryland has one of the best health systems in the country, providers couldn’t embrace telehealth because of outdated regulatory restrictions. Our firm changed the tide in Maryland – even before the pandemic brought telehealth to the forefront. We partnered with clients and legislative champions to secure a model regulatory framework for telehealth.

Insights

How did this legislative campaign break ground in Maryland and lead the way for the rest of the country?

Public Policy Partners directed the campaign for the enactment of model legislation authorizing telehealth in 2020. Senate Bill 402/HB 448 – Health Care Practitioners – Telehealth and Shortage (Senator Kagan/Delegate Rosenberg) authorized all licensed and certified health care practitioners to provide telehealth. This legislation repealed outdated regulatory restrictions, particularly on the use of asynchronous platforms. While introduced prior to the pandemic, Maryland’s law has become a model for other states in establishing the regulatory framework for telehealth after the public health emergency.

How did this success boost the profile of the client and lay the groundwork for future successes?

Public Policy Partners’ clients included Teladoc and several other health care provider organizations. The legislative campaign elevated the visibility of innovative telehealth practices of our clients; and they became the go-to experts on how asynchronous telehealth platforms engage consumers and improve health outcomes.

The campaign paved the way for 2021 legislation on telehealth reimbursement. The Maryland General Assembly enacted legislation on reimbursement parity, including for audio-only services, beyond the pandemic.

What was Public Policy Partners strategy to achieve success?

Public Policy Partners’ strategy was to obtain a commitment of legislative leadership before the bill was introduced. We knew that the bill would face stiff opposition from the Maryland Board of Physicians, the insurance and managed care industry, and certain physician associations.

We developed effective messaging and utilized the extensive research on the effectiveness of different telehealth models. We anticipated and were able to effectively counter every argument made by our opponents. We utilized earned media to frame our messaging. These strategies ensured that our messaging became the framework by which legislators viewed telehealth.

To support our work, Public Policy Partners built a coalition of over 20 provider and consumer advocacy organizations. We coordinated the coalition’s outreach efforts to legislators and other stakeholders. This coalition was formed to support the 2020 legislation, but it still continuing its collaboration today. Public Policy Partners understands that long-term partnerships are the foundation of our next legislative campaign.