Alaska Telemedicine Policy, Simplified.

Healthcare legislation is complicated. Let’s clarify a few things.

We strive to keep this information updated and current. It is intended to be an informative guide, and not a comprehensive legal resource. Always consult with your local team of experts and administrators.

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Alaska Telemedicine Policy

Updated October 2019

Telemedicine in Alaska: Policies

Unlike most other states, Alaska’s Medicaid program covers many different types of telemedicine – including live video, store-and-forward and remote patient monitoring. In fact, Alaska Medicaid earned the highest ranking from the American Telemedicine Association (ATA).

Although Alaska doesn’t have a telemedicine parity law in place yet (one is currently proposed for legislation), Alaska Medicaid’s telehealth coverage is one of the most expansive programs of its kind. Alaska also requires private payers to cover mental health services delivered over telemedicine.

State Policy Overview

Medicaid
Private Payers
Parity

Additional state telemedicine information

  • Parity Laws

    Although Alaska doesn’t have a telemedicine parity law yet, one is currently in the works. Additionally, the state has a partial parity law that provides some coverage for mental health services.

  • Medicaid

    Alaska’s Medicaid program is one of the most comprehensive,  covering live video, store-and-forward, and remote patient monitoring.

  • Type of Telemedicine Covered

    The State of Alaska defines telemedicine as “[…] the practice of healthcare delivery, […] using the transfer of medical data through audio, video, or data communications engaged in over two or more locations between providers who are physically separated from the patient or from each other.”

    Since Alaska has many remote areas, this state’s telemedicine definitions are broader than in other states. Telemedicine is considered to be identical to “traditional” healthcare visits except for its innovative “mode of delivery.” Definitions include interactive video, store-and-forward methods, and self-monitoring applications.

  • Covered Health Services

    The following basic health services are covered for telemedicine:

    • Initial or one follow-up office visit
    • Consultation made to confirm diagnosis
    • A diagnostic, therapeutic or interpretive service
    • Psychiatric or substance abuse assessments
    • Individual psychotherapy or pharmacological management services

    For more details and list of exclusions, check your Alaska Medicaid manual.

  • Eligible Healthcare Providers

     

    • Physician
    • Physician assistant
    • Nurse practitioner
    • Clinical nurse specialist
    • Nurse midwife
    • Mental health professional
    • Podiatrist

  • Online Prescriptions

    A physical examination is not necessary to prescribe drugs if:

    • The prescription drug is not a controlled substance or a controlled substance is prescribed by a physician when an appropriate licensed health care provider is present
    • The physician is located within the state and a physician or provider is available for follow up care
    • The person consents to sending a copy of all medical records from the appointment to their PCP

    Alaska’s state law also prohibits doctors from prescribing medication based solely on a patient history provided electronically (without a corresponding interaction with the patient).

  • Informed Patient Consent

    No consent requirements are stated or have been written into law.

  • Cross-State Telemedicine Licensing

    Alaska doesn’t allow any interstate medical licensing yet. Healthcare providers consulting patients in Alaska via telemedicine must have an Alaska medical license.

  • Restrictions on Locations

    Alaska does not currently have any restrictions on location.

  • Reimbursement Rates

    Because there is not yet a parity law in Alaska, private payers are not required to reimburse telemedicine visits at the same rate as in-person services.

    However, Alaska does require private payers to cover mental health services via telemedicine. Additionally, many private payers do include telemedicine reimbursement for a range of medical services in their policies.

  • Billing Codes

    Not sure how to bill telemedicine? Don’t worry – we have the eligible CPT codes right here for you:

    • Consultations (99241-99275)
    • Office or other outpatient visits (99201-99215)
    • Individual psychotherapy (90804-90809)
    • Pharmacologic management (90862)

    Use the GT modifier with the right CPT code when you’re billing for live telemedicine (videochat). And use the GQ modifier when you’re billing for store-and-forward telemedicine.

    Want more details? Check out the Alaska Medicaid Handbook.

  • Helpful Resources

    We used the sites below to gather information for this guide. Check them out for more details on your state’s policy!

Additional resources to help you get started.

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