New Jersey recently finalized regulations requiring all telemedicine or telehealth organizations providing telemedicine services to patients located in New Jersey to register with New Jersey’s Department of Health (Department) before October 15, 2021.
While initially proposed in April 2020, on August 16, 2021, the Department quietly finalized its Registration Standards for Telemedicine and Telehealth Organizations regulations (Title 8, Chapter 53 of the New Jersey Administrative Code), finally implementing provisions of the 2017 New Jersey Telemedicine and Telehealth Act (the Act). The Act includes a section that requires each telemedicine or telehealth organization operating in New Jersey to annually register with the Department and submit annual reports on activity and encounter data. However, until the recent regulations were enacted, this statutory requirement had little effect.
The regulations apply to all telemedicine or telehealth organizations providing services in New Jersey. In New Jersey, a “telemedicine or telehealth organization” is defined as “a corporation, sole proprietorship, partnership, or limited liability company that is organized for the primary purpose of administering services in the furtherance of telemedicine or telehealth.”
Note that the New Jersey Telemedicine and Telehealth Organization website provides:
ORGANIZATIONS, FACILITYS, OR HEALTH CARE PROVIDERS LICENSED BY THE STATE OF NEW JERSEY ARE NOT REQUIRED TO REGISTER. . . . As such, facilities licensed by the Department and private medical practices with a physical location used for treatment in New Jersey are not required to register.
The Department clarified in its response to public comments that “Healthcare facilities that simply utilize telemedicine or telehealth services in addition to in-person evaluation and care services are not required to register or pay registration fees.”
Under the new regulations, telemedicine or telehealth organizations must register with the Department before providing telemedicine services to patients located in New Jersey. The Department will issue a registration for the entity if the following are met:
Registration is valid for one year and is subject to the annual renewal registration and fees. If any of the information provided by the registrant on the initial or renewal application changes, the registrant must file an amended application documenting the changes within five business days of the change in information. The registration is non-transferable and non-assignable, so any change of the legal entity operating the telemedicine or telehealth organization requires an application for a new registration and a new registration fee.
If a telemedicine or telehealth organization intends to close or cease operations of any registration, then the telemedicine or telehealth organization must first report the closure or cessation of operations to the Department no later than 30 days prior to said closure or cessation. Additionally, if a telemedicine or telehealth organization has voluntarily discontinued a registration, that entity must submit a new registration application to resume telemedicine or telehealth services.
Any telemedicine or telehealth organizations providing services in New Jersey as of August 16, 2021 are required to submit a registration application by October 15, 2021 (60 days from August 16, 2021), or cease providing telehealth or telemedicine services. Failure to register by October 15, 2021 will lead to the enforcement actions set forth at N.J.A.C. 8:53–3.1, which include monetary penalties and/or suspension, revocation, or refusal to issue or renew an organization’s registration.
While not covered within the newly implemented regulations, under the Act, telemedicine or telehealth organizations are also required to submit annual reports on activity and encounter data.
The content of the reports will be specified further in forthcoming regulations, but we know the reports will include, at least, for each consult: the patient’s race and ethnicity; the diagnostic codes; the evaluation management codes; and the source of payment for the consult. The Department will then compile the information into a statewide database.
New Jersey is not the first state to create a telehealth registry; in 2017, Alaska’s Department of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development created a special Telemedicine Business Registry for health care providers delivering telemedicine services in the Frontier State.
For additional information on New Jersey’s 2017 Telemedicine and Telehealth Act, read our summary here.
For more information on telemedicine, telehealth, and virtual care innovations, including the team, publications, and other materials, visit Foley’s Telemedicine Practice.