51 N.J.R. 1097(a)
VOLUME 51, ISSUE 13, JULY 1, 2019
51 N.J.R. 1097(a)
NJ - New Jersey Register >
JULY 1, 2019 >
RULE PROPOSALS >
LAW AND PUBLIC SAFETY -- DIVISION OF CONSUMER AFFAIRS
Interested Persons Statement
Interested persons may submit comments, information or arguments concerning any of the rule proposals in this issue until the date indicated in the proposal. Submissions and any inquiries about submissions should be addressed to the agency officer specified for a particular proposal.
The required minimum period for comment concerning a proposal is 30 days. A proposing agency may extend the 30-day comment period to accommodate public hearings or to elicit greater public response to a proposed new rule or amendment. Most notices of proposal include a 60-day comment period, in order to qualify the notice for an exception to the rulemaking calendar requirements of N.J.S.A. 52:14B-3. An extended comment deadline will be noted in the heading of a proposal or appear in a subsequent notice in the Register.
At the close of the period for comments, the proposing agency may thereafter adopt a proposal, without change, or with changes not in violation of the rulemaking procedures at N.J.A.C. 1:30-6.3. The adoption becomes effective upon publication in the Register of a notice of adoption, unless otherwise indicated in the adoption notice. Promulgation in the New Jersey Register establishes a new or amended rule as an official part of the New Jersey Administrative Code.
LAW AND PUBLIC SAFETY > DIVISION OF CONSUMER AFFAIRS > STATE BOARD OF SOCIAL WORK EXAMINERS
Administrative Code Citation
Proposed New Rules: N.J.A.C. 13:44G-15
Authorized By: State Board of Social Work Examiners, Susan Rischawy, Acting Executive Director.
Authority: N.J.S.A. 45:15BB-11 and P.L. 2017, c. 117.
Calendar Reference: See Summary below for explanation of exception to calendar requirement.
Submit written comments by
August 30, 2019, to:
Susan Rischawy, Acting Executive Director
State Board of Social Work Examiners
[page=1098] 124 Halsey Street
PO Box 45033
Newark, New Jersey 07101
or electronically at:
The agency proposal follows:
P.L. 2017, c. 117, which was effective July 21, 2017, authorizes healthcare providers to engage in telemedicine and telehealth. The Board of Social Work Examiners (Board) proposes new rules to effectuate the provisions of P.L. 2017, c. 117, for social workers.
N.J.A.C. 13:44G-15.1 sets forth that the proposed new rules implement P.L. 2017, c. 117, and establishes that the rules apply to licensed and certified social workers. The rule requires social workers to hold a Board issued license or certificate if they are physically located in New Jersey or if they are physically located outside of New Jersey and are providing services by means of telemedicine or telehealth to clients located in New Jersey. The rule clarifies that a healthcare provider in another state who uses communications technology to consult with a New Jersey licensee, but who does not direct client care, will be deemed as not providing health care services in New Jersey and will not be required to obtain a license or certificate in New Jersey. This exemption does not apply when the healthcare provider is providing clinical supervision pursuant to N.J.A.C. 13:44G-8.1.
N.J.A.C. 13:44G-15.2 provides definitions for the terms used in proposed new Subchapter 15.
N.J.A.C. 13:44G-15.3 requires a licensee to determine whether he or she can provide services through telemedicine or telehealth consistent with the standard of care for such services when provided in-person. If such provision of services would not meet that standard, a licensee cannot provide services through telemedicine or telehealth and he or she would be required to advise the client to receive services in-person. A licensee who provides services through telemedicine or telehealth will be held to the same standard of care and practice standards as are applicable when services are provided in-person.
N.J.A.C. 13:44G-15.4 establishes how a licensee will create a licensee-client relationship prior to providing services through telemedicine or telehealth. A licensee must identify the client and disclose his or her identity. Before a licensee can provide services through telemedicine or telehealth, he or she is required to review a patient's medical history and medical records. The rule requires licensees to determine if services can be provided through telemedicine or telehealth with the same standard of care as if the services were provided in-person. This determination has to be made prior to each unique client encounter. A licensee will not have to establish a licensee-client relationship if: services are provided as informal consultations, or on an infrequent basis, and there is no compensation for the services; services are part of episodic consultations by specialists in another jurisdiction; services are provided during an emergency or disaster without compensation; or a licensee is providing on-call or cross-coverage services.
N.J.A.C. 13:44G-15.5 permits a licensee to provide services through telemedicine and to support and facilitate the provision of services to a client through telehealth if he or she has established a licensee-client relationship with the client or qualifies for an exemption to the licensee-client relationship requirement. Prior to providing services, the licensee must determine the site at which the client is located and record this in the client's record. When a licensee provides services through telemedicine, he or she must use interactive, real-time, two-way communication technologies, which include a video component. A licensee will not have to use technology that includes a video component if he or she determines, after reviewing a client's records, that he or she can meet the standard of care for such services provided in-person without video. In such a situation, the licensee may use interactive, real-time, two-way audio in combination with technology that permits the transmission of images, diagnostics, data, and medical information.
A licensee will be required to review a client's medical history and records prior to an initial encounter with the client and, for subsequent interactions, review the history and records either prior to or during interactions. A licensee who provides services through telemedicine or telehealth will be required to provide contact information to a client by which the client can contact the licensee, or an alternative licensee, for at least 72 hours after the provision of services. A licensee must provide clients with records upon request. A licensee also must provide a client's information to a client's primary care provider or other health care provider upon written request. A licensee will be required to provide a referral for follow-up care when it is necessary.
N.J.A.C. 13:44G-15.6 requires licensees to maintain records of care provided to clients through telemedicine or telehealth. Such records must comply with the requirements in N.J.A.C. 13:44G-12, and all other statutes, rules, and regulations governing recordkeeping, confidentiality, and disclosure.
N.J.A.C. 13:44G-15.7 requires licensees to establish written protocols to prevent fraud and abuse. Such protocols must address: identification of users, clients, and the origin of information; the prevention of unauthorized access to a system or information; system security; maintenance of documentation; information storage, maintenance and transmission; and verification of client data.
N.J.A.C. 13:44G-15.8 requires licensees to establish privacy practices for electronic communications that comply with the standards of 45 CFR Parts 160 and 164, which are incorporated by reference. These Federal regulations implement the privacy requirements of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 and protect the privacy of individually identifiable health information. These privacy practices must include measures to protect confidentiality and client-identifiable information and transmissions must be protected by passwords, encryption, or other authentication techniques. If a licensee becomes aware of a breach of confidentiality, he or she must report this as required by 45 CFR Part 164. Licensees must provide clients with copies of privacy practices and obtain written acknowledgement of receipt from clients. The rule also requires licensees to provide clients with notice regarding telemedicine and telehealth, which includes the risks of using technology to provide services and information on how to receive follow-up care. Licensees must obtain a signed and dated statement from the client recognizing receipt of this notice. If the provision of services through telemedicine or telehealth cannot provide all clinical information necessary to provide care, a licensee will have to inform the client of this and advise the client that he or she should receive an in-person evaluation to meet his or her needs.
The Board has provided a 60-day comment period for this notice of proposal. Therefore, pursuant to N.J.A.C. 1:30-3.3(a)5, this notice is excepted from the rulemaking calendar requirement.
The Board believes the proposed new rules will have a positive social impact in that they will facilitate the use of communication technologies to provide services while protecting clients who receive such services through telemedicine or telehealth.
The Board anticipates that the proposed new rules may have an economic impact on licensees who choose to provide services through telemedicine or telehealth. The proposed new rules require licensees to use communication technologies that provide for interactive, real-time, two-way communication that include a video component. Licensees may incur costs in obtaining such communication technologies. The Board does not anticipate that the proposed new rules will have any other economic impact.
Federal Standards Statement
Requirements in N.J.A.C. 13:44G-15.8 impose the same standards for privacy of communications as are imposed by 45 CFR Parts 160 and 164, which are referred to in the rule. There are no other applicable Federal laws or standards.
The Board does not believe that the proposed new rules will result in the creation or loss of jobs in the State.
Agriculture Industry Impact
The proposed new rules will have no impact on the agriculture industry in the State.
Regulatory Flexibility Analysis
Since licensees are individually licensed by the Board under the Regulatory Flexibility Act (Act), N.J.S.A. 52:14B-16 et seq., they may be considered "small businesses" for the purposes of the Act.
The economic impact on small businesses will be the same as that imposed on all businesses as detailed in the Economic Impact statement. The Board does not believe that licensees will need to employ any additional professional services to comply with the requirements of the proposed new rules. The proposed new rules impose no reporting requirements, but impose compliance and recordkeeping requirements upon licensees as detailed in the Summary above.
The proposed new rules will protect the health, safety, and welfare of clients who receive social work services through telemedicine or telehealth; therefore, no differing compliance requirements are provided to licensees based upon the size of a business.
Housing Affordability Impact Analysis
The proposed new rules will have an insignificant impact on the affordability of housing in New Jersey and there is an extreme unlikelihood that the proposed new rules would evoke a change in the average costs associated with housing because the proposed new rules concern the provision of social work services through telemedicine or telehealth.
Smart Growth Development Impact Analysis
The proposed new rules will have an insignificant impact on smart growth and there is an extreme unlikelihood that the proposed new rules would evoke a change in housing production in Planning Areas 1 or 2, or within designated centers, under the State Development and Redevelopment Plan in New Jersey because the proposed new rules concern the provision of social work services through telemedicine or telehealth.
Racial and Ethnic Community Criminal Justice and Public Safety Impact
The Board has evaluated this rulemaking and determined that it will not have an impact on pretrial detention, sentencing, probation, or parole policies concerning adults and juveniles in the State. Accordingly, no further analysis is required.
Full text of the proposed new rules follows:
13:44G-15.1 Purpose and scope
- The purpose of this subchapter is to implement the provisions of P.L. 2017, c. 117 (N.J.S.A. 45:1-61 et seq.), which authorizes healthcare providers to engage in telemedicine and telehealth.
- This subchapter shall apply to all persons who are licensed or certified by the Board as social workers.
- Pursuant to N.J.S.A. 45:1-62, a social worker must hold a license or certificate issued by the Board if he or she:
- Is located in New Jersey and provides health care services to any client located in or out of New Jersey by means of telemedicine or telehealth; or
- Is located outside of New Jersey and provides health care services to any client located in New Jersey by means of telemedicine or telehealth.
- Notwithstanding N.J.S.A. 45:1-62 and (c) above, a healthcare provider located in another state who consults with a licensee in New Jersey through the use of information and communications technologies, but does not direct client care, will not be considered as providing health care services to a client in New Jersey consistent with N.J.S.A. 45:15BB-1 et seq., and will not be required to obtain licensure in New Jersey in order to provide such consultation.
- The provisions of (d) above shall not apply when a healthcare provider located in another state provides clinical supervision pursuant to N.J.A.C. 13:44G-8.1.
The following words and terms, when used in this subchapter, shall have the following meanings, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise.
"Asynchronous store-and-forward" means the acquisition and transmission of images, diagnostics, data, and medical information either to or from an originating site or to or from the licensee at a distant site, which allows for the client to be evaluated without being physically present.
"Board" means the Board of Social Work Examiners.
"Cross-coverage service" means a licensee who engages in a remote evaluation of a client, without in-person contact, at the request of another licensee who has established a proper licensee-client relationship with the client.
"Distant site" means a site at which a licensee is located while providing health care services by means of telemedicine or telehealth.
"Licensee" means an individual licensed or certified by the Board as a social worker.
"On-call" means a licensee is available, where necessary, to physically attend to the urgent and follow-up needs of a client for whom the licensee has temporarily assumed responsibility, as designated by the client's primary care licensee or other health care provider of record.
"Originating site" means a site at which a client is located at the time that health care services are provided to the client by means of telemedicine or telehealth.
"Telehealth" means the use of information and communications technologies, including telephones, remote client monitoring devices, or other electronic means, to support clinical health care, provider consultation, client and professional health-related education, public health, health administration, and other services in accordance with the provisions of P.L. 2017, c. 117 (N.J.S.A. 45:1-61 et seq.).
"Telemedicine" means the delivery of a health care service using electronic communications, information technology, or other electronic or technological means to bridge the gap between a health care licensee who is located at a distant site and a client who is located at an originating site, either with or without the assistance of an intervening licensee, and in accordance with the provisions of P.L. 2017, c. 117 (N.J.S.A. 45:1-61 et seq.). "Telemedicine" does not include the use, in isolation, of audio-only telephone conversation, electronic mail, instant messaging, phone text, or facsimile transmission.
13:44G-15.3 Standard of care
- Prior to providing services through telemedicine or telehealth, a licensee shall determine whether providing those services through telemedicine or telehealth would be consistent with the standard of care applicable for those services when provided in-person.
- If a licensee determines, either before or during the provision of services, that services cannot be provided through telemedicine or telehealth in a manner that is consistent with in-person standards of care, the licensee shall not provide services through telemedicine or telehealth.
- A licensee who determines that services cannot be provided through telemedicine or telehealth pursuant to (b) above shall advise the client to obtain services in-person.
- A licensee who provides a diagnosis, treatment, or consultation recommendation, including discussions regarding the risk and benefits of a client's treatment options, through telemedicine or telehealth shall be held to the same standard of care or practice standards as are applicable to in-person settings.
13:44G-15.4 Licensee-client relationship
- Prior to providing services through telemedicine or telehealth, a licensee shall establish a licensee-client relationship by:
- Identifying the client with, at a minimum, the client's name, date of birth, phone number, and address. A licensee may also use a client's assigned identification number, Social Security number, photo, health insurance policy number, or other identifier associated directly with the client; and
- Disclosing and validating the licensee's identity, license, title, and, if applicable, specialty and board certifications.
- Prior to an initial contact with a client for the purpose of providing services to the client using telemedicine or telehealth, a licensee shall review the client's history provided by the client and any records provided by the client.
- Prior to initiating contact with a client for the purpose of providing services through telemedicine or telehealth, a licensee shall determine [page=1100] whether he or she will be able to provide the same standard of care using telemedicine or telehealth as would be provided if the services were provided in-person. The licensee shall make this determination prior to each unique client encounter.
- Notwithstanding (a), (b), and (c) above, service may be provided through telemedicine or telehealth without a proper provider-client relationship if:
- The provision of services is for informal consultations with another healthcare provider performed by a licensee outside the context of a contractual relationship, or on an irregular or infrequent basis, without the expectation or exchange of direct or indirect compensation;
- The provision of services is during episodic consultations by a specialist located in another jurisdiction who provides consultation services, upon request, to a licensee in this State;
- A licensee furnishes assistance in response to an emergency or disaster, provided that there is no charge for the assistance; or
- A substitute licensee, who is acting on behalf of an absent licensee in the same specialty, provides health care services on an on-call or cross-coverage basis, provided that the absent licensee has designated the substitute licensee as an on-call licensee or cross-coverage service provider.
13:44G-15.5 Provision of services through telemedicine or telehealth
- As long as a licensee has satisfied the requirements of N.J.A.C. 13:44G-15.4, a licensee may provide health care services to a client through the use of telemedicine and may engage in telehealth to support and facilitate the provision of health care services to clients.
- Prior to providing services through telemedicine or telehealth, a licensee shall determine the client's originating site and record this information in the client's record.
- A licensee providing healthcare services through telemedicine shall use interactive, real-time, two-way communication technologies, which shall include, except as provided in (e) below, a video component that allows a licensee to see a client and the client to see the licensee during the provision of services.
- A licensee providing services through telemedicine or telehealth may use asynchronous store-and-forward technology to allow for the electronic transmission of:
- Data; and
- Medical information.
- If, after accessing and reviewing the client's records, a licensee determines that he or she is able to meet the standard of care for such services if they were being provided in-person without using the video component described in (c) above, the licensee may use interactive, real-time, two-way audio in combination with asynchronous store-and-forward technology, without a video component.
- During the provision of services through telemedicine or telehealth, and after the provision of services, a licensee, or another designated licensee, shall provide his or her name, professional credentials, and contact information to the client. Such contact information shall enable the client to contact the licensee for at least 72 hours following the provision of services, or for a longer period if warranted by the client's circumstances and accepted standards of care.
- Prior to providing services through telemedicine or telehealth, a licensee shall review any history or records provided by a client as follows:
- For an initial encounter with a client, history and records shall be reviewed prior to the provision of services through telemedicine or telehealth; and
- For any subsequent interactions with a client, history and records shall be reviewed either prior to the provision of services through telemedicine or telehealth or contemporaneously with the encounter with the client.
- After the provision of services through telemedicine or telehealth, a licensee shall provide the client, upon request, with his or her records created due to the services provided, or a summary of the record, as long as the summary adequately reflects the client's history and treatment, unless otherwise required by law.
- A licensee shall provide, upon a client's written request, the client's information to the client's primary care provider or to other health care providers.
- A licensee engaging in telemedicine or telehealth shall refer a client for follow-up care when necessary.
A licensee who provides services through telemedicine or telehealth shall maintain a record of the care provided to a client. Such records shall comply with the requirements of N.J.A.C. 13:44G-12, and all other applicable State and Federal statutes, rules, and regulations for recordkeeping, confidentiality, and disclosure of a client's record.
13:44G-15.7 Prevention of fraud and abuse
- In order to establish that a licensee has made a good faith effort to prevent fraud and abuse when providing services through telemedicine or telehealth, a licensee must establish written protocols that address:
- Authentication and authorization of users;
- Authentication of the client during the initial intake pursuant to N.J.A.C. 13: 44G-15.4(a)1;
- Authentication of the origin of information;
- The prevention of unauthorized access to the system or information;
- System security, including the integrity of information that is collected, program integrity, and system integrity;
- Maintenance of documentation about system and information usage;
- Information storage, maintenance, and transmission; and
- Synchronization and verification of client profile data.
13:44G-15.8 Privacy and notice to clients
- Licensees who communicate with clients by electronic communications other than telephone or facsimile shall establish written privacy practices that are consistent with Federal standards under 45 CFR Parts 160 and 164, as amended and supplemented, which are incorporated herein by reference, relating to privacy of individually identifiable health information.
- Written privacy practices required by (a) above shall include privacy and security measures that assure confidentiality and integrity of client-identifiable information. Transmissions, including client email, and laboratory results must be password protected, or protected through substantially equivalent authentication techniques.
- A licensee who becomes aware of a breach in confidentiality of client information, as defined in 45 CFR 164.402, shall comply with the reporting requirements of 45 CFR Part 164.
- Licensees, or their authorized representatives, shall provide a client, prior to evaluation or treatment, with copies of written privacy practices and shall obtain the client's written acknowledgement of receipt of the notice.
- Licensees who provide services through telemedicine or telehealth, or their authorized representatives, shall, prior to providing services, give clients notice regarding telemedicine and telehealth, including the risks and benefits of being treated through telemedicine or telehealth and how to receive follow-up care or assistance in the event of an adverse reaction to the treatment or in the event of an inability to communicate as a result of a technological or equipment failure. A licensee shall obtain a signed and dated statement indicating that the client received this notice.
- When telemedicine or telehealth is unable to provide all pertinent clinical information that a licensee exercising ordinary skill and care would deem reasonably necessary to provide care to a client, the licensee shall inform the client of this prior to the conclusion of the provision of care through telemedicine or telehealth and shall advise the client regarding the need for the client to obtain an additional in-person evaluation reasonably able to meet the client's needs.
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