Key Provisions of the CT Law on Telehealth

LCSWs and LMSWs are covered by this law.

 “Telehealth” means the mode of delivering health care or other health services via information and communication technologies to facilitate the diagnosis, consultation and treatment, education, care management and self-management of a patient’s physical and mental health, and includes (A) interaction between the patient at the originating site and the telehealth provider at a distant site, and (B) synchronous interactions, asynchronous store and forward transfers or remote patient monitoring. Telehealth does not include the use of facsimile, texting or electronic mail.

A telehealth provider shall only provide telehealth services to a patient when the telehealth provider: (A) Is communicating through real-time, interactive, two-way communication technology or store and forward technologies; (B) has access to, or knowledge of, the patient’s medical history, as provided by the patient, and the patient’s health record, including the name and address of the patient’s primary care provider, if any; (C) conforms to the standard of care applicable to the telehealth provider’s profession and expected for in-person care as appropriate to the patient’s age and presenting condition, except when the standard of care requires the use of diagnostic testing and performance of a physical examination, such testing or examination may be carried out through the use of peripheral devices appropriate to the patient’s condition; and (D) provides the patient with the telehealth’s provider license number and contact information.

At the time of the telehealth provider’s first telehealth interaction with a patient, the telehealth provider shall inform the patient concerning the treatment methods and limitations of treatment using a telehealth platform and, after providing the patient with such information, obtain the patient’s consent to provide telehealth services. The telehealth provider shall document such notice and consent in the patient’s health record. If a patient later revokes such consent, the telehealth provider shall document the revocation in the patient’s health record.

Each telehealth provider shall, at the time of the initial telehealth interaction, ask the patient whether the patient consents to the telehealth provider’s disclosure of records concerning the telehealth interaction to the patient’s primary care provider. If the patient consents to such disclosure, the telehealth provider shall provide records of all telehealth interactions to the patient’s primary care provider, in a timely manner. Any consent required under this section shall be obtained from the patient, or the patient’s legal guardian, conservator or other authorized representative, as applicable.

The provision of telehealth services and health records maintained and disclosed as part of a telehealth interaction shall comply with the provisions of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 P.L. 104-191, as amended from time to time.

Additional Statutory Language Passed May & June 2021

Fully funded private insurance plans, Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program: The law now covers all fully insured private plans, Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program. All providers who are in-network come under the provisions of the law. The law expires on June 30, 2024 though we expect that it will be made permanent (possibly with some revisions) in the 2024 legislative session. The key provisions that affect social workers are:

  • Insurers must give pay equity to in-person and telehealth rates. Insurers cannot pay less for telehealth than they do for in-person treatment.
  • Telehealth can be provided from any location.
  • Insurers cannot dictate the platform used to deliver telehealth. The platform must be HIPAA compliant.
  • Covered services can be video and audio or audio only.

Medicaid: A separate bill was passed that specifically covers Medicaid, which requires DSS, to the extent permissible under federal law, to provide telehealth services to the same extent as in-person coverage. It also allows the Commissioner of DSS, to the extent permissible by federal law, to cover audio only services when determined that doing so is clinically appropriate, providing comparable audiovisual telehealth is not possible and audio only services are provided to persons unable to use or access audiovisual telehealth services. The bill allows audio only telehealth services to continue beyond the sunset date of June 30, 2023 as listed above. The provisions of the major telehealth law (section above) all apply to Medicaid with the exception of the sunset date.

The information presented here is based on current Connecticut Statute and may be subject to change. This fact sheet is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice.