Telehealth & Reimbursement for MNT

UPDATED January 20, 2023

Telehealth Town Hall

Please find the slides from the January town hall event here.

Please find the link to the recording here. Passcode is V1*f6Y6t


Telehealth Update

An Act Putting Patients First took effect in January 2021 as part of Chapter 260 of the Acts of 2020. It covered many areas of health care services provision in MA, including “no surprise billing” and COVID-related services.

  • It also made permanent coverage of and reimbursement parity for behavioral health services provided via all modalities of telehealth, including audio-only.
  • It called for coverage of and reimbursement parity for primary care services and chronic disease management through January 2023.
  • As of September 2021, for all other services, insurers could reduce reimbursement rates with advance notification.
  • Insurers have since announced reimbursement rate cuts for telehealth services: telehealth 80% the rate of in-person visits.

MAND’s Board of Directors approved hiring lobbyists to help us advocate for MNT provided via telehealth and retained Smith, Costello & Crawford in November 2022, ahead of the new two-year legislative session which began on January 4, 2023.

Lobbyists' role is to offer expertise and guide MAND’s advocacy activities, which include:

  • Filing new legislation to establish payment parity for MNT provided via all modalities of telehealth.
  • Connecting with key members of the state legislature to help the bill move through the multi-step legislative process.
  • Advocate for our services and make sure that MNT is included and reimbursed fairly in any new healthcare law.
  • Work with Healey administration and state agencies, such as Division of Insurance and Executive Office of Health and Human Services, regarding possible regulatory changes.

Lobbyists’ work to date

Our lobbyists worked with the MAND Executive Committee and Director of Public Policy to draft two versions of a bill to establish payment parity for MNT provided via all modalities of telehealth.

  • Version #1 – Coverage and reimbursement parity for MNT as part of behavioral health
  • Version #2 – Coverage and reimbursement parity similar to that of behavioral health but separate, such as for primary care services

They then worked with two members of the state legislature to file these bills: 

  • State Representative Meghan Kilcoyne (D-Clinton)
  • State Senator Julian Cyr (D-Truro)

Next steps are to connect MAND with key members of the legislature as bills get assigned to committees. They will also continue to monitor regulatory avenues for telehealth reimbursement parity.

For more information on telehealth reimbursement in MA please email:

Sarah Conca sconca@live.com

Ellen Lowre elowre@yahoo.com                      


Telehealth FAQs

Can nutrition visits still be provided via telehealth?

Yes, however, as of September 13, 2021, there is no guarantee of reimbursement rate parity for nutrition services provided via telehealth. Insurance carriers are acting within the law if they announce rate cuts.

"Carriers may choose to continue paying all providers at existing telehealth rates of reimbursement. If Carriers wish to alter telehealth rates of reimbursement where allowed under the law, they are expected, as noted in Bulletin 2021-04, to file implementation plans with the Division that highlight the methods and timing that would apply to all affected providers . . ." (MA Division of Insurance update on telehealth issued September 7, 2021)

I am a dietitian in private practice and I have relinquished my office space during the pandemic and now practice by telehealth exclusively. How should I proceed?

Per current MA DOI regulations, credentialed providers need to offer both in-person appointments and telehealth appointments to remain in compliance with many of the insurance providers’ contracts (i.e., should a patient request an in-person visit). Private insurers may have specific requirements related to in person vs remote appointments. You should review the updated telehealth information on insurance companies’ websites for credentialed providers.


Want to Learn More?

For more information on the 2023-2024 session of the Massachusetts General Court: https://malegislature.gov/ClerksOffice/Senate/Deadlines

For more information on the MA Division of Insurance:
https://www.mass.gov/orgs/division-of-insurance

For more information on Chapter 260 of the Acts of 2020:
https://malegislature.gov/Laws/SessionLaws/Acts/2020/Chapter260

View all comments submitted to MA DOI regarding telehealth provisions here:
https://www.mass.gov/service-details/telehealth-information-sessions

Join the Academy's telehealth discussion board: https://www.eatrightpro.org/practice/practice-resources/telehealth/telehealth-discussion-board 

View the Academy's Telehealth Policy Stance here.

View the Academy's letter to CMS regarding telehealth here.

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