In a new story for Stateline, writer Michael Ollove explores several states’ response to telehealth in the continuing COVID-19 pandemic. Several states have taken the lead from the federal government and expanded their won telehealth laws, allowing most pandemic measures to stay in place. The result? More patients are using telehealth to get care quickly and easily.
From the story: “Mei Wa Kwong, executive director of the Center for Connected Health Policy, a nonpartisan organization widely regarded as an authority on telehealth, estimates that the number of telehealth visits increased by as much as 40% during spring and summer 2020 and remains 30% higher than it was before the pandemic. According to a survey conducted by the National Association of Community Health Centers, the percentage of health centers using telehealth jumped from 43% before the pandemic to 98% during the early months of the crisis.
“The telehealth temporary policies helped so many people receive care they otherwise wouldn’t have received or may have put off getting until it became a more serious issue,” Kwong wrote in an email to Stateline. “To suddenly have that access taken away by a policy change could have significant, adverse impacts on many.”
Many states already have extended temporary telehealth measures that were set to expire with the lifting of public health emergencies, and other states are considering doing the same. Kwong estimates that there are more than 1,000 telehealth bills pending in state legislatures, many of which would allow more services to be provided virtually or mandate that public or private insurers cover them.”
As the pandemic continues, only time will tell if health care facilities and providers keep their telehealth functions or discard it.
To read the rest of the story on Stateline, click here.