Ark. moves to allow virtual checkups for youth

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Arkansas children with mental illnesses may be able to get virtual checkups starting in May.

The Department of Human Services proposed a state Medicaid rule change Wednesday that would permit video conferencing and distance education for people younger than 21 who have mental illnesses.

The agency says tens of thousands of children are served by only a handful of child psychiatrists in Arkansas. The change will reduce travel times for patients and doctors and increase accessibility for rural areas.

Healthcare providers will be required to connect to the Arkansan Telehealth Network and meet screen size, bandwith and framerate benchmarks in order to provide telemedicine services.

Officials hope the change can take effect in mid-May, but the proposal first has to OK'd by the Administrative Rules and Regulations Committee.

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