Statement from New York Physician & Hospital Organizations Calling on Legislature to Include Telehealth Payment Parity in Final Enacted Budget for FY 2022-23

For Immediate Release 
March 15, 2022 

Statement from New York Physician & Hospital Organizations Calling on Legislature to Include Telehealth Payment Parity in Final Enacted Budget for FY 2022-23

The undersigned leading physician and hospital groups representing tens of thousands of physicians delivering health care to millions of New Yorkers each year applaud Governor Hochul and the New York State Senate for including meaningful Telehealth payment reform in their respective budget proposals for FY 2022-23. Telehealth has been vital to ensuring patients receive needed care throughout the pandemic, an important complement to the care patients receive in-person. Moreover, it is helping to address persistent disparities in health care access for New Yorkers across the state.

Ensuring fair payment for Telehealth services through payment parity is necessary to ensure this patient care delivery mechanism can continue to be offered by community based physician practices. We look forward to working with lawmakers to provide additional expertise and resources on the importance of unfettered patient access to Telehealth services as they negotiate the final budget.

What New York’s Physicians & Other Providers Are Saying

Dr. Joseph Sellers, MD
President, Medical Society of the State of New York (MSSNY)
“Ensuring fair payment for Telehealth services is essential to ensuring this modality can be continued to be offered as a treatment option for our patients by their physicians. For many of our patients it is an essential option when they are limited by lack of transportation options or concerned about infection risk. We are grateful to Governor Hochul and the State Senate for including this reform in their Budget proposals for FY 2022-23. We urge that this be included in the final budget agreement.”

Camille A. Clare, MD, MPH, CPE, FACOG
Chair, ACOG District II
“We encourage the legislature to seize this important opportunity to advance health equity and ensure physicians can continue to utilize Telehealth services to meaningfully engage patients. Telehealth has been an important supplement to in person care particularly during pregnancy and the postpartum period. This is salient as we continue our work to improve the patient experience and combat disparities in maternal health.”

Jeffrey Borenstein, MD
President, NYS Psychiatric Association (NYSPA)
“Telehealth has been an essential lifeline for access to care & treatment for those with mental illness & substance use disorders, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic which continues to evolve as new variants emerge & we contend with the long-term effects. It’s imperative the Assembly join the Governor & Senate to enact measures in the final state budget that will assure the viability of Telehealth going forward & parity in reimbursement between in person treatment & treatment provided via Telehealth.

James Mumford, MD
President of NYS Academy of Family Physicians (NYSAFP)
“The NYS Academy of Family Physicians applauds the Governor’s budget proposal to require health plans, both Medicaid and commercial, to pay providers for services delivered through Telehealth on par with payments for care delivered in person. There are important lessons to be learned from the temporary Telehealth authorizations put in place during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. This is a critical opportunity to enable physicians to meet patients where they are by utilizing both in-person and Telehealth to ensure patient primary care needs are met. We urge that this patient-centered policy be included in the final State budget.”

Bea Grause, RN, JD
President, Healthcare Association of New York State
“Over the last two years, providers have invested scarce resources into Telehealth equipment, staff training and overall Telehealth infrastructure to expand offerings and meet the growing demand for the service. We urge the governor and Legislature to include much needed Telehealth reforms in this year’s enacted budget. These reforms would empower providers to sustain their investments, strengthen the state’s Telehealth infrastructure and continue expanding New Yorkers’ access to healthcare services.”

Dr. Warren Seigel, Chair, NYS American Academy of Pediatrics
“Telehealth has offered our patients a safe & convenient way to get the important health information they need to keep their infants, children and adolescents healthy. At first it was a crisis response to the COVID epidemic, but now it is a time saving & effective way for parents to check in with their pediatricians about health concerns. We can diagnose & even prescribe with Telehealth, but we can also let parents know that the issue of concern requires a visit to our office. Maintaining & supporting Telehealth as a vital part of pediatric health care in New York is imperative if we are to truly work with our patients to create the 22nd century of health care.”

Dr. John DiPreta, President of the New York State Society of Orthopaedic Surgeons
“Greater access to Telehealth services provides numerous benefits including increased patient access to orthopaedic surgeons and surgical teams, reductions in patient travel burden, improvements to clinical workflows and practice efficiencies, and enhanced follow-up. These benefits have proven especially advantageous to vulnerable populations and patients with impairment who may lack appropriate transportation or access to specialty care. We are encouraged that patients have embraced the technology and convenience of telemedicine and we anticipate its adoption will continue post-pandemic. We therefore urge the Assembly to join with the Governor and Senate in supporting Telehealth payment parity.”

Leslie F. Algase, MD, FACP
President, New York Chapter American College of Physicians (NYACP)
“Expanded use of Telehealth during the pandemic has made us certain that this is an essential tool to keep people connected to their primary care physicians and to improve timely access to specialists. It has made a dramatic improvement in health disparities, keeping patients safe and allowing them to get care from their own providers, freeing up Emergency facilities for those who truly need them. Payment parity is essential to continue these benefits and we are grateful to Governor Hochul for including this in the state budget. NYACP feels it is imperative for these provisions to stay in the final budget.”

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Founded in 1807, the Medical Society of the State of New York is the state’s principal non-profit professional organization for physicians, residents and medical students of all specialties. Its mission is to represent the interests of patients and physicians to assure quality healthcare services for all.

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