Patients and doctors who embraced telehealth during the pandemic fear it will become harder to access

A question that remains to be answered, experts say, is how many rules will tighten once the public health emergency is over. This summer, more than 430 health-related organizations, including hospitals, professional bodies and patient-advocacy groups, urged congressional leaders to keep the gateways to telehealth open, arguing that much of health-care delivery has moved online “not only to meet COVID-driven patient demand, but to prepare for America’s future health care needs.” Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have shown support for making the shift to telehealth permanent through mechanisms such as the Connect for Health Act. But many states have already rescinded the licensing waivers that allowed clinicians and some other providers to practice across state lines, or are preparing to do so. Other decisions at the state, federal and individual health-care system levels remain uncertain.


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