Telehealth has long been an important care delivery method for improving access in underserved communities, particularly rural areas, areas with physician shortages, and areas with limited access to primary care services. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the role of telehealth in helping patients continue to receive timely and safe health care services and treatments from their providers. Telehealth -- including telemedicine and telemental health -- helps reduce gaps in access to services and care, including access to primary care and specialized providers when in-person visits are not a safe or feasible option.
In response to the public health emergency, federal and state agencies provided new, and in some cases time-limited, flexibilities to increase access to telehealth. Our organizations believe telehealth can and should be used to increase patient access to care and stand ready to work with Congress, the Administration, and state governments, to ensure that all patients can continue to safely access appropriate telehealth services during and after the COVID-19 public health emergency.