One of the first implementations of Telemedicine in Oklahoma was in 1993 with over 45 rural hospitals, 15 regional hospitals, and the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center. This 'first of its kind' telemedicine network, The Oklahoma Telemedicine Network, was supported by a visionary governor and funded by the Oklahoma Department of Commerce. Oklahoma was an early pioneer in the development, utilization and reimbursement of Store and Forward telemedicine.
Telemedicine in Oklahoma is not centralized, but primarily offered through distributed and collaborative telemedicine networks and individual providers. Many healthcare systems connect to multiple locations to provide Telehealth/Telemedicine Services.
Oklahoma has always been progressive in developing and implementing polices to support Telemedicine. The “Oklahoma Telemedicine Act” passed in 1997 stated the All health care service plans, disability insurer programs, workers’ compensation programs, or state Medicaid managed care program contracts are to include coverage for telemedicine services, where appropriate as determined by a health care practitioner.
Oklahoma Special Universal Services Funds legislation states: a single broadband line used for telemedicine per standards as recommended by the Federal Communications Commission to be provided free of charge to an eligible healthcare entity within the State, sufficient for providing telemedicine services. (revision HB2616 -2016, section 139.109). Not-for-profit hospitals, county health departments, city-county health departments, not-for-profit mental health and substance abuse facility, Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHC) and Oklahoma Department of Corrections facilities (per Section 509 of Title 57 of the Oklahoma Statues) are eligible sites for Oklahoma Universal Service Funds (updated June 2016).
Oklahoma telemedicine sites include hospitals, clinics, community health centers, community mental health centers, Children Advocacy Centers, correctional facilities, Indian Health Services sites, public health departments, schools, veterans administration (VA) facilities, and Native American tribal facilities.
The Oklahoma Healthcare Authority administers Medicaid and reimburses for telemedicine services per its policy.