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Protect Access to Tele-Mental Health, IDD, and Substance Use Disorder Treatment Services in New Jersey
Advocates:

New Jersey currently does not treat telehealth services fairly. The importance of telehealth, especially for those receiving mental health services, IDD, and Substance Use Disorder Treatment, has been thoroughly demonstrated during the COVID-19 pandemic. We must now work to ensure this tool does not disappear when the current emergency subsides. 

This means, people in need of online mental health services would not have to pay extra for them. Right now, once the pandemic is declared over, telehealth services will likely not qualify for insurance reimbursement, making it financially prohibitive to many!

To this end, we are asking you to sign our petition to voice your support for A-4179 / S-2559, a bill that would require telehealth services receive the same treatment that in-person services do. This bill would enable the wellbeing of so many New Jerseyans who may experience challenges in accessing the healthcare that they need.

29 other states, plus the District of Columbia, have already enacted similar legislation. It is time for New Jersey to join the majority of the country by passing this important bill which would guarantee fair access to telehealth services. Please sign the petition today!

Sincerely,

Jacob Caplan
Advocacy Manager
Easterseals New Jersey
Petition Text
A-4179 / S-2559 will ensure parity in reimbursement for telehealth services and prohibit benefits plans from imposing a "place of service" requirement. It is essential that critical services currently being provided remotely continue to be available to those who need it. This is a particularly acute issue for those receiving mental health services. Since in-person services were ordered closed in March, more than 6,600 New Jersey residents have received virtual services from Easterseals New Jersey. 

Ensuring billing parity is a critical safeguard which will ensure the availability and viability of telehealth services. By making telehealth readily available, we can protect our state's most vulnerable residents, and their caregivers and service providers, from undue exposure to COVID-19 in the short term. In the long term, we can ensure many thousands more New Jerseyans have access to telehealth services they need for years to come. Health and safety must be put first, and this will allow us to do just that for our fellow New Jerseyans.

This legislation also includes a provision that will ensure that telehealth services may take place at any site for both the provider and program participant permanently. Emergency rules enacted as a response to the pandemic that removed onerous site requirements have enabled providers to offer more accessible and timely care. This policy should be continued. The value and efficacy of telehealth services has been clearly demonstrated during this pandemic and putting limits on access to care will only serve to impede the availability of this powerful healthcare tool.

Twenty-nine states plus the District of Columbia have enacted pay parity laws for telehealth services, it is time that New Jersey caught up with the majority of the nation. By ensuring pay parity for these services, New Jersey can ensure that those in need of medical services can access them when they need them from where they are. This will remove geographic, economic and accessibility barriers for many who may otherwise go without healthcare. The Legislature must pass A-4179 / S-2559 so the Governor can sign this important bill into law.
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