3 unintended consequences of making telehealth rules permanent: KHN 

COVID-19-related telehealth rules for out-of-state providers may lead to unintended consequences such as fraud and limited patient access if made permanent, according to a recent Kaiser Health News analysis.

Here are three unintended consequences that might result from permanent telehealth expansions, according to the report.

1. Limitations for vulnerable patients. People with limited internet access or tech literacy, including the elderly, poor and non-English speakers, may be left out of widespread expansions of telehealth.

2. Fraud increases. Telehealth fraud cases have "gone through the roof," HHS Office of Investigations Operations Officer Mike Cohen told KHN. Many scammers are trying to steal patients' identities and sell them on the black market, he added.

3. Provider scams. Some providers have been overcharging for appointments, billing for services that weren't given or are not registered or licensed in the U.S., Mr. Cohen said.

"Our sense is that [telehealth fraud is] more widespread than we envisioned," he said. "If we're going to make this permanent, we need to make sure there's guardrails to ensure programmatic integrity and also patient safety."


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