5 states expanding telehealth access

Several states have begun to expand their availability of telehealth services to promote virtual care during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The Trump administration last month announced that CMS would temporarily pay clinicians to provide telehealth services for Medicare beneficiaries. CMS is also encouraging states to relax licensing laws to allow in-state and out-of-state providers to offer telehealth services in states during the pandemic. 

Here are five states that have recently ordered telehealth services to be expanded amid the coronavirus pandemic: 

1. California. The state's insurance department on March 30 issued a notice to all health insurers that they must increase access to services delivered via telehealth during the COVID-19 state of emergency.

2. Maryland. Gov. Larry Hogan signed an executive order on April 1 that expands approval of telehealth technology beyond audio-only methods. Maryland providers can now offer medical advice, treatments and prescribe medications via numerous video and telecommunications applications throughout the pandemic.

3. Massachusetts. The state's Medicaid and children's health insurance program MassHealth partnered with Maven, a women's health telehealth provider, to offer members with COVID-19 symptoms free virtual visits.

4. Texas. Gov. Greg Abbott this week announced that the state's health and human services commission submitted a Medicaid waiver to CMS that will allow Texas providers to perform healthcare services via telemedicine technology.

5. Tennessee. The state's mental health and substance abuse services department is expanding telehealth services by providing mobile behavioral healthcare units for rural Tennessee counties. The state is also offering a mobile 24/7 telephone hotline for mental health support.

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