Urgent care operators that offer occupational medicine in New York may want to consider what it would take to start offering telemedicine services if they’re not doing so already. The Empire State is taking a harder look at whether telemedicine could be a viable option to broaden access to clinicians for injured workers who otherwise might not get the care they need. One possible motive for the newfound interest: Industry observers have noted that New York is notorious for its low reimbursement rates, which may contribute to a dearth of workers’ comp providers there. Throwing telemedicine into the mix could be one way to self-correct somewhat without raising their fee schedule for “traditional” providers. Senate Bill 1042 proposes forming a task force to examine greater use of connected health technology—specifically, how it could improve outcomes in workers’ comp cases, increase access to care providers, and enable those providers to improve compliance with worker’s comp guidelines. A 2014 report by Towers Watson suggested that U.S. employers could save more than $6 billion a year by employing telemedicine. In another survey by Mitchell, a tech and information systems provider, 45% of respondents said telemedicine will have the biggest impact on the claims industry—more than selected artificial intelligence (19%), mobile technologies (14%), and wearable devices (10%). Around 25% said they expected to adopt such technologies within 5 years.
New York May Call on Telemedicine to Improve Access Under Workers’ Comp