MO. Governor Signs Legislation

Missouri Governor Jay Nixon signed bill SB 579 introduced by State Senator Rob Schaaf to be effective August 28, 2016. One area that the legislation addresses is the use of asynchronous store-and-forward technology to provide telehealth services for MO HealthNet participants.

Asynchronous store-and-forward is defined as the transfer of a patient’s clinically important digital samples such as still images, videos, audio and text files, plus relevant data from an originating site.

The legislation calls for the Missouri Department of Social Services  in consultation with the Departments of Mental Health and Health and Health and Senior Services to promulgate rules governing the use of asynchronous store-and-forward technology in the practice of telehealth in MO HealthNet.

The act establishes the “Telehealth Services Advisory Committee” to advise the Department of Social Services to propose rules related to telehealth services through asynchronous store-and-forward technology.

SB579 also requires the Infection Control Advisory Panel to make recommendations to the Department regarding CMS reporting requirements by January 1, 2017. The panel’s recommendations need to address which hospital shall be required as a condition of licensure to use specified national networks for data collection, risk analysis, or public reporting of infection data.

The Act also states that any licensed healthcare provider will be authorized to provide telehealth services if these services are within the scope of the practice. The provider must be licensed in the services provided under the same standard of care as services provided in person.

Additionally, no originating site is required to have on-site clinical staff available when telehealth services are provided unless the staff needs to be present to meet the standard of care for the treatment of the patient’s medical condition.

No healthcare provider will prescribe drugs and controlled substance or other treatment to a patient based solely on a telephone evaluation. However, physicians or on-call physicians, advanced practice registered nurses, physician assistants or assistant physicians in a supervision agreement may prescribe any drug, controlled substance or other treatment within their scope of practice.

The Act also specifies that licensed individuals considered eligible healthcare providers can provide telehealth services for MO HealthNet participants. Also the act specifies the originating sites where a MO HealthNet participant may receive telehealth services.

A statewide home telemonitoring program is to be established for the MO HealthNet program. Home telemonitoring services are services that require scheduled remote monitoring of data related to a patient’s health.

If the Department of Social Services determines that home telemonitoring is not cost effective, the Department may discontinue the program and stop providing reimbursement through MO HealthNet for these services.

Go to for more details on SB 579.

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