Viewpoint: States should cater to Americans' increasing telehealth needs

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States would be rejecting a significant opportunity to improve healthcare delivery if they discontinue the telehealth policy relaxations enacted during the pandemic, Naomi Lopez, director of healthcare policy at the Goldwater Institute, wrote in a Dec. 2 op-ed for The Hill.

When the pandemic began, most states, along with CMS, relaxed telehealth regulations. Now some states are discontinuing those relaxations, and federal reforms are set to end once the public health emergency is over.

Some lawmakers fear that giving Americans more telehealth options would cause them to use such services more than needed and therefore increase healthcare spending. However, a recent study from Americans for Prosperity and the Progressive Policy Institute concluded that "consumers don’t use telehealth promiscuously."

Ms. Lopez argues that telehealth increases care accessibility for patients and allows providers to tailor care to each patient's situation. She also said telehealth allows patients to receive care from specialists who might be across the country, allows people to receive care in a timely manner during emergencies such as a mental health crisis, and allows patients who require continuous monitoring to stay in their home rather than a hospital.

Ms. Lopez proposed states follow Arizona's lead. In March, the state passed a law that made its temporary telehealth relaxations permanent and increased the services available to rural hospitals and those serving vulnerable populations.


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