December 3, 2021
By Naomi Lopez
When the pandemic took hold in America, policymakers in Washington and governors across the country realized there was a dire and urgent need to reduce face-to-face medical interactions to limit potential virus exposure and to direct the limited medical personnel to the most urgent medical cases. As a result, the federal government and states across the country relaxed government rules and red tape to make telehealth more readily available, giving Americans faster and easier access to many forms of healthcare. By using their telephone, tablets and computers, more Americans could get the care they need.
But with several of those states on the verge of sunsetting these regulation relaxations, and the federal reforms set to expire once the public health emergency ends, we’re now standing on the precipice of a “telehealth cliff.” That’s terrible news for any American seeking medical care — but it doesn’t have to be this way.
Naomi Lopez is Director of Healthcare Policy at the Goldwater Institute, which developed Arizona’s telehealth reform. She is also the author of “Unleash Technology: Maximize Telehealth’s Potential” in the new book “Don’t Wait for Washington: How States Can Reform Health Care Today.”