Hawaiian telemedicine policies support most forms of remote consulting services, including:
A particular requirement is that there must be an established provider-patient relationship. This may be accomplished through person-to-person consultation or by means of a telehealth consultation. Hawaiian law provides for reimbursement of telemedicine consultations.
|Reimbursement for: All telehealth services||Reimbursement for: All telehealth services||Reimbursed at the same rate as in-person services|
Hawaiian parity laws, enacted in 2016, require private insurers to cover telehealth services at the same rate as conventional, face-to-face services. Insurers may not insist on a prior or current in-person consultation as a requirement for payment.
Your health insurer is obliged to provide you with a document detailing all telehealth benefits, including information on copayments and deductibles. If your insurer requires you use a specified network of providers, there must be sufficient practitioners readily available. There should be no unreasonable delay or travel expected of you.
Hawaiian Medicaid covers live video and store-and-forward consultations and remote patient monitoring services. Your provider must be licensed to practice in the state. At one time, you could only access telehealth services in specific areas like:
But in 2020, the state announced the intention to move away from these restrictions, and it’s now possible to participate in a telehealth consultation from your own home or other convenient location.
Eligible Health Care Providers
Health care providers must have a license to practice in Hawaii, but they need not be physically resident in the state. Hawaii is not a member of the Interstate Licensure Compact, so physicians wishing to practice in Hawaii must separately register in Hawaii. State regulations don’t limit the types of services offered through telehealth — only that services must be appropriate to a telehealth care setting. So, for example, you couldn’t use telehealth for lab work, X-rays, or medical procedures.
You are covered for the following medical professionals by Hawaiian Medicaid:
Hawaiian regulations require that there be a prior doctor-patient relationship before the doctor can prescribe medication. This specifically means you must have had a recent person-to-person consultation with your doctor. The only exception is if your physician refers you to another specialist. In this instance, the specialist does not have to physically see you, provided you have been seen by your referring doctor. In all cases, prescribing physicians must discuss diagnosis and treatment options with you and ensure appropriate follow-up care is available.
Hawaii has a well-established medical infrastructure managed by the Hawaii Health Systems Corporation, a state-funded hospital and clinic service. Additionally, there are numerous rural health clinics where you can arrange a telehealth appointment. Another useful resource is the Hawaiian Primary Care Association. Possibly the first step is to see if your existing primary health care practitioner offers a telehealth service. Alternatively, if you’re looking for a new doctor, search using services like the Healthgrades Hawaiian index. In any event, it’s essential to research your telehealth doctor and find out what you’ll be expected to pay for a telehealth consultation.
Hawaiian telehealth laws are evolving rapidly as the state seeks to extend these services to those in underserved rural areas. Keep up with these changes by visiting these websites.