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Ohio Emergency Telehealth Rule Ohio Emergency Telehealth Rule

Ohio Emergency Telehealth Rule

The Ohio Department of Medicaid, with the authorization of Governor Mike DeWine, issued an emergency rule governing the use of telehealth on March 20, 2020, superseding rule 5160-1-18 (Telehealth) of the Medicaid regulations during the emergency period. The emergency rule is to remain in effect during any time period in which the Governor has declared a state of emergency and when authorized by the Medicaid Director. The purpose of the emergency rule is to expand access to medical and behavioral health services using telehealth technologies. Highlights of the emergency rule are as follows:
  • Removes existing limitations on the definitions of "patient site" and "provider site," permitting both parties to be in any location whatsoever.
  • Expands the definition of "telehealth" to include activities that are asynchronous and do not have both audio and video elements—such as telephone calls, images transmitted via fax and email.
  • Increases the types of practitioners who are eligible to render services through the use of telehealth. In addition to the providers historically permitted to provide telehealth services,[1] chemical dependency counselors, audiologists, physical and occupational therapists, dieticians, Medicaid school program practitioners and other practitioners may now provide telehealth services.
  • Adds other provider types who are eligible to bill for services rendered using telehealth to include outpatient hospitals, other types of ambulatory health care clinics in addition to the historically permitted public health departments, primary care and family planning clinics and other participating and non-participating providers delivering services in the managed care or fee for service programs as designated by the Medicaid director.
  • Suspends the rule that the professional responsible for the patient's care has face-to-face contact during the patient's initial visit when services are provided by a supervised trainee.
  • Suspends the need for a teaching practitioner to be present when telehealth services are being provided by a resident outside a primary care center.
The emergency rule states that providers are encouraged to notify patients there may be privacy risks associated with the use of third-party applications; providers should use all available encryption and privacy modes when using these applications and providers are to exercise professional judgment in the use of telehealth examinations. In addition, the practitioner should, to the greatest extent possible, have access to the patient's medical records at the time of service and must maintain documentation of services provided via telehealth.

The emergency rule also contains modifications and suspensions of certain provisions of the regulations pertaining to the provision of services using telehealth technologies by entities providing services certified by the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services and the provision of outpatient behavioral health services.

For more information about the emergency rule, please go to and click on the ODM Emergency Telehealth Rule or contact Taryn Stone at or Margaret Emmert at

This publication is intended for general information purposes only and does not and is not intended to constitute legal advice. The reader should consult with legal counsel to determine how laws or decisions discussed herein apply to the reader’s specific circumstances.
[1] These providers are physicians, psychologists, physician assistants, clinical nurse specialists, certified mid-wives, certified nurse practitioners and licensed independent social workers, marriage and family therapists and clinical counselors.
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