Montana Medicaid Expands Telemedicine Access

Phone calls and online communication qualify under new policies

By Maggie Dresser

Gov. Steve Bullock expanded telemedicine service access for Montana Medicaid patients to prevent unnecessary coronavirus, or COVID-19, exposure in healthcare facilities.

On Friday, March 20, several new policies will go into effect, which include allowing patients and providers to communicate over the phone or online. Video chat is currently the only existing policy, which excludes Montanans without laptops are smartphones from participating.

“Expanding telemedicine will provide the physical, mental, and substance use care Montanans need without overwhelming health care facilities responding to COVID-19 or risking unnecessary exposure,” Gov. Bullock said in a statement.

Language that prevents Medicaid from paying for telemedicine services will be eliminated and face-to-face requirements with primary care providers will also be waived.

Gov. Bullock announced a plan to pay for COVID-19 tests and treatment for uninsured Montanans on Tuesday, March 17. State funds and potentially federal funds will be used to pay for testing and treatment beginning on March 23. To access this emergency assistance Montanans can call (406) 444-7605 or email hhspresumptive@mt.gov.

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