Woman with cell phone in hand sits in front of laptop.

Courtesy of William Iven and Pixabay

Medicaid recipients are among those who will benefit from expanded access to telehealth services for Kentuckians, beginning Monday, July 1.

Passed by the General Assembly in 2018, Senate Bill 112 helps make it possible for patients to use video conferencing to consult with a provider while staying at home or accessing the service at a local health facility, according to the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services.

Potential advantages include better access to physicians, especially for patients living in rural areas; reduced travel time and better management of chronic conditions, according to the Cabinet.

“I believe that this effort is just the beginning,” Carol Steckel, commissioner of the Department for Medicaid Services, said in a news release. “We will continue to pursue innovative ways to link our communities to improve the health of the Commonwealth.”

Providers no longer must be certified by a telehealth board but do have to be licensed in Kentucky. The act also sets forth that Medicaid reimbursement rates usually will be the same for telehealth services as they are for in-person visits.

Here are some new laws that recently went into effect, following the 2019 session of the General Assembly, according to the Legislative Research Commission:

A youth hold ups an e-cigarette in an educational campaign by the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky

The Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky was a supporter of House Bill 11 and has a peer education campaign on the dangers of youth vaping. | Screengrab from Vimeo

Smoke-free schools: House Bill 11 bans the use of tobacco, e-cigarettes and vaping devices on public-school campuses, starting with the 2020-21 school year unless a school district opts out.

Pregnant workers: Senate Bill 18 gives pregnant workers and new moms the right to reasonable accommodations from their employers at businesses with at least 15 employees. It was supported by the Louisville Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness and Greater Louisville Inc.

Midwives: Senate Bill 84 relates to putting standards in place for home-birth midwives. This includes creating the Licensed Certified Professional Midwives Advisory Council under the Board of Nursing. The council will advise the board on things like administrative regulations, qualifications, standards for training, competency and any statutory changes that might be needed.