The state of telehealth laws across the nation

As many states relax COVID-19 restrictions and drop public health emergency designations, they face new decisions on how to regulate telehealth services, the National Law Review reported Feb. 21.

During the pandemic, many states relaxed state licensure laws or granted temporary licenses to out-of-state providers, allowing telehealth to be provided across state lines. Some states have taken steps to create more permanent pathways to telehealth licensing after recognizing its potential, but others have retracted those temporary licenses and flexibility as COVID-19 cases decline. 

  1. Florida ended its public health emergency in June 2021, ending an order that allowed out-of-state physicians to treat Florida patients virtually. However, Florida also has a registration process for out-of-state practitioners, allowing them some flexibility.

  2. Virginia and New York both ended their public health emergencies, which also ended the waivers that allowed out-of-state telehealth services. However, with New York reinstating its emergency declaration in September 2021 due to staff shortages, and Virginia reinstating flexibility Jan. 10 for telehealth services, both states still currently allow for out-of-state telehealth services.

  3. Arizona has created a permanent pathway for flexible telehealth by enacting a law that allows licensed, out-of-state telehealth practitioners to register with a professional board in Arizona, allowing them to practice in the state. 

  4. West Virginia, Kansas and Connecticut all expanded telehealth licensure requirements, either permanently or into the near future. 

  5. Thirty-three states have joined the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact, which created binding agreements across participating states to streamline interstate practice.

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