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Joe Courtney Statement on DSS Telemedicine Announcement

March 13, 2020
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, the Department of Social Services announced that Connecticut’s Medicaid and CHIP Programs, known as HUSKY, will begin reimbursement for services provided to patients via telemedicine. The change will be permanent for certain psychiatric services, like individual therapy, family therapy, and medication management. The change will be temporary during the current public health emergency for medical treatment provided through telemedicine.

“The Connecticut Department of Social Services’ announcement today is a crucial development in our ability to serve patients with behavioral health and medical needs during this time of social distancing,” said Congressman Courtney. “Not only is reducing the need for patients to visit a hospital important for stemming the transmission of illness, telemedicine will enable our medical providers to treat patients otherwise unreachable, either due to anxiety or other mental health conditions.

“Although the need to remotely access medical and psychiatric treatment is especially pointed during this public health crisis, the truth is that this technology will fill a longstanding and significant gap in Connecticut’s ability to treat patients with behavioral health needs, such as Substance Use Disorder, going forward. In 2018, I advocated that the state implement these changes to address the lack of sufficient access to substance use disorder treatment. Five of Connecticut’s eight counties are considered to be Mental Health Professional Shortage Areas. This change will mean that residents in these areas will be able to reach medically-necessary care that may have previously been out of reach.”

Congressman Courtney has previously encouraged the Connecticut Department of Social Services to reimburse health providers for telemedicine services provided to HUSKY recipients, especially for behavioral health. In September of 2018, he wrote to then Connecticut Department of Social Services Commissioner Roderick Bremby, stating that “Connecticut is the only state in the nation where Medicaid recipients cannot access telehealth services, including telemental health, and we encourage the Department of Social Services to address this unnecessary barrier to care by amending the state plan.”

To read Courtney’s full letter to former Commissioner Bremby, click here.

For more information about these announcements, the Department of Social Services has released the following provider bulletins: