The Ohio Departments of Mental Health and Addiction Services (OhioMHAS) and Medicaid (ODM), in partnership with the Governor’s Office, have developed emergency rules to expand and enhance telehealth options for Ohioans and their providers. OhioMHAS’s emergency rule creates additional flexibilities in the agency’s regulations governing interactive videoconferencing. ODM’s emergency rule creates a new Medicaid telehealth rule that governs reimbursement policies for Medicaid providers rendering services through telehealth.

ODM and OhioMHAS are implementing these emergency rules to expand access to medical and behavioral health services using telehealth. This action is being taken to give health care providers maximum flexibility as they shift as many services as possible away from in-person visits. In addition to increasing access to care, these rules seek to also reduce pressure on Ohio hospitals. The goal of the emergency rule package is to dramatically increase regulatory flexibility so medical and behavioral health providers can offer health care services to Ohioans remotely, thereby increasing access to care, reducing pressure on our hospital systems, and reducing unnecessary patient traffic in waiting rooms during the COVID-19 emergency.

The rules also enable practitioners to more efficiently manage increasing patient inquiries and health care demands while maintaining recommended social distancing protocols designed to protect healthcare workers.