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Library: Policy

317:30-3-27.1. Audio-only health service delivery

Issued 7-6-23

(a) Definition.  "Audio-only health service delivery" means the delivery of healthcare services through the use of audio-only telecommunications, permitting real-time communication between a patient and the provider, for the purpose of diagnosis, consultation, and/or treatment.  Audio-only health service delivery does not include the use of facsimile, email, or health care services that are customarily delivered by audio-only telecommunications and not billed as separate services by the provider, such as the sharing of laboratory results. This definition includes health services delivered via audio-only when audio-visual is unavailable or when a member chooses audio-only.

(b) Purpose. Health services delivered via audio-only telecommunications are intended to improve access to healthcare services, while complying with all applicable state and federal laws and regulations. Audio-only telecommunications is an option for the delivery of certain covered services and is not an expansion of SoonerCare-covered services.

(c) Applicability and scope.  The applicability and scope of this section of policy is outlined below:

(1) Health service delivery via audio-only telecommunications is applicable to medically necessary covered primary care and other approved health services. Refer to the Oklahoma Health Care Authority (OHCA) website,, for a complete list of the SoonerCare-reimbursable audio-only health services codes.

(2) If there are technological difficulties in performing medical assessment through audio-only telecommunications, then hands-on-assessment and/or in-person care must be provided for the member. Any service delivered using audio-only telecommunications must be appropriate for audio-only delivery and be of the same quality and otherwise on par with the same service delivered in person.

(3) Confidentiality and security of protected health information in accordance with applicable state and federal law, including, but not limited to, 42 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 2, 45 CFR Parts  160 and 164, and 43A Oklahoma Statutes (O.S.) § 1-109, must be maintained in the delivery of health services by audio-only telecommunications.

(4) For purposes of SoonerCare reimbursement, audio-only health service delivery is the use of interactive audio technology for the purpose of diagnosis, consultation, and/or treatment that occurs in real-time and when the member is actively participating during the transmission.

(d) Requirements.  The following requirements apply to all services rendered via audio-only health service delivery:

(1) Interactive audio telecommunications must be used, permitting real-time communication between the physician or practitioner and the SoonerCare member. As a condition of payment, the member must actively participate in the audio-only telecommunications health service visit.

(2) The audio telecommunications technology used to deliver the services must meet the standards required by state and federal laws governing the privacy and security of protected health information (PHI).

(3) The provider must be contracted with SoonerCare and appropriately licensed and/or certified, and in good standing. Services that are provided must be within the scope of the practitioner's license and/or certification.

(4) Either the provider or the member must be located at the freestanding clinic that is providing services pursuant to 42 CFR § 440.90 and Oklahoma Administrative Code (OAC) 317:30-5-575.

(5) If the member is a minor, the provider must obtain the prior written consent of the member's parent or legal guardian to provide services via audio-only telecommunications, that includes, at a minimum, the name of the provider; the provider's permanent business office address and telephone number; and an explanation of the services to be provided, including the type, frequency, and duration of services. Written consent must be obtained annually, or whenever there is a change in the information in the written consent form, as set forth above.  The parent or legal guardian need not attend the audio-only telecommunications session unless attendance is therapeutically appropriate.

(6) The member retains the right to withdraw at any time.

(7)  All audio-only health service delivery activities must comply with Oklahoma Health Care Authority (OHCA) policy, and all other applicable State and Federal laws and regulations.

(8) A health service delivered via audio-only telecommunications is subject to the same SoonerCare program restrictions, limitations, and coverage which exist for the service when not delivered via audio-only telecommunications.

(9) A health service delivered by audio-only telecommunications must be designated for reimbursement by SoonerCare.

(10) Where there are established service limitations, the use of audio-only telecommunications to deliver those services will count towards meeting those noted limitations. Service limitations may be set forth by Medicaid and/or other third-party payers.

(d) Reimbursement.

(1) Health care services delivered via audio-only telecommunications must be compensable by OHCA in order to be reimbursed.

(2) Services delivered via audio-only telecommunications must be billed with the appropriate modifier.

(3) Health care services delivered via audio-only telecommunications are reimbursed pursuant to the fee-for-service fee schedule approved under the Oklahoma Medicaid State Plan.

(4) An RHC and an FQHC shall be reimbursed for services delivered via audio-only telecommunications at the fee-for-service rate per the fee-for-service fee schedule.

(5) An I/T/U shall be reimbursed for services delivered via audio-only telecommunications at the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) all-inclusive rate.

(6) The cost of audio-only telecommunication equipment and other service related costs are not reimbursable by SoonerCare.

(e) Documentation.

(1) Documentation must be maintained by the rendering provider to substantiate the services rendered.

(2) Documentation must indicate the services were rendered via audio-only telecommunications, and the location of the services.

(3) All other SoonerCare documentation guidelines apply to the services rendered via audio-only telecommunications.  Examples include but are not limited to:

(A) Chart notes;

(B) Start and stop times;

(C) Service provider's credentials; and

(D) Provider's signature.

(f) Final authority.  The OHCA has discretion and final authority to approve or deny any services delivered via audio-only telecommunications based on agency and/or SoonerCare members' needs.

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