2023 was an important year for telehealth policy and sustainability in South Carolina. The Federal Public Health Emergency (PHE) ended on May 11, 2023, over four years since its declaration. Although the PHE formally ended, the majority of Medicare flexibilities were extended by Congress until December 31, 2024. Additionally, SC Medicaid extended its flexibilities for 1-year post-PHE.

Legislative Engagement

On March 15th, The Telehealth and Telemedicine Modernization Act (Bill H. 4159) was introduced in the South Carolina House of Representatives. The bill was a product of multiple years of collaboration between telehealth champions, payers, and legislators, and outlined two main objectives:

  1. To introduce a new, broader definition of ‘Telehealth’ in statute, inclusive of non-MD health care practitioners
  2. To facilitate greater access to certain controlled substances via telehealth while maintaining important safeguards through the modernization of tele-prescribing language 

SC Telehealth Alliance partners gathered at the Statehouse to provide testimony in support of the bill for the House Medical, Military, Public and Municipal Affairs (3M) Committee and the bill passed out the House unanimously on May 5th. After passing in the House, the bill was received in the Senate and assigned to the Medical Affairs Committee, where it will begin the 2024 session. 

Payer Engagement

In addition to legislative efforts, it is a priority of the SCTA to ensure continued and productive collaboration with payers in South Carolina to ensure telehealth program sustainability. In 2023, SCTA leaders met with payer partners to share the payer priorities and supporting scorecard, which shows how payers in SC compare against the priorities. Conversations were productive and will be ongoing into 2024 to discuss how to collaborate to advance telehealth sustainability in SC.