Hundreds of Groups Ask Governors to Expand Telehealth Licensure Flexibilities
Hundreds of healthcare and industry groups are urging governors nationwide to expand access to telehealth through licensure flexibilities. In a letter to governors, more than 230 organizations said: "Given the urgency of the times as more states consider rolling back flexibilities enacted at the start of the pandemic, states must act now to ensure patients can access the care they need where they reside and when they need it, without having to choose between cancelling an appointment or traveling long distances and risking potential exposure to the COVID-19 virus for an in-person visit." Although expanded licensure flexibilities during the pandemic enabled medical professionals to expand their scope of treatment to patients across state lines, many states have started allowing those emergency declarations to expire, although the crisis continues. "This has been extremely detrimental and disruptive to necessary and ongoing patient care," according to the letter. "Healthcare providers have had to scramble to notify thousands of out-of-state patients that their telehealth appointments were no longer possible, and that they would have to drive across state borders to keep their appointments." Rather than face a disruption in care, some patients have started driving just over state lines, taking a telehealth appointment in a parking lot, the groups said. They called on state governors and legislatures to maintain licensure and telehealth flexibilities throughout the federal public health emergency, work with health experts to adopt solutions to address the continuing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on patient care, and expand their participation in health professional compacts allowing for the safe and accountable mutual recognition of health professional licensure among states. Signatories of the letter include Amazon, Epic, Kroger, the American Telemedicine Association, American Pharmacists Association, Mayo Clinic, Mass General Brigham, Intermountain Healthcare, Cornell University, and Princeton University.
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