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Michigan bill will ensure equal pricing for telehealth, in-person visits for Medicaid

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(The Center Square) – Michigan Medicaid patients need only Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s signature to be able to pay the same rates for telehealth as they do for in-person doctor’s visits.

HB 4580, sponsored by Rep. Felicia Brabec, D-Pittsfield, has already passed the Senate and House. It would amend the Social Welfare Act to require Medicaid programs to provide the same reimbursement rate for both telehealth and in-office visits.

The bill would also prohibit Medicaid and the Healthy Michigan Plan from requiring recipients to use telehealth services instead of in-person consultation.

The Senate Fiscal Agency’s analysis reported “While access to telemedicine services is important for improving health outcomes, some people believe the possibility of Medicaid or the Healthy Michigan Plan requiring the use of telemedicine services in place of in-person care could lower health outcomes overall for residents of Michigan.”

The National Library of Medicine acknowledges the benefits of telemedicine as an option for patients, particularly “convenient and timely access to care that overcomes geographic barriers…However, concerns still exist that something may be lost if telemedicine becomes standard practice for all,” according to a 2022 study on the pre and post-pandemic state of telehealth.

The bill would have no fiscal impact on state or local government, according to the analysis.

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