Coronavirus Requires Telehealth Update From Congress And States

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As we grapple with the steady crawl of the coronavirus outbreak across the country, families, employees, and businesses are encouraged to take precautions to limit exposure. But with crowded clinics, it’s difficult to know what to do if you’re concerned about your health. This outbreak has shone a light on the need to expand telehealth laws.

President Trump signed a funding bill to help health officials and agencies address this emergency that did ease some telehealth barriers for those on Medicare, but significant barriers still exist for the widespread utilization of telehealth as a tool to fight and monitor patients in need of care to prevent additional spreading of the virus.

Most states’ laws—even states that are members of compacts—are very physician centric, and don’t contemplate other providers utilizing telehealth such as nurses, nurse practitioners, or physician assistants—all of whom are part of the backbone of our care systems.