On August 3, 2021, Aimed Alliance hosted a virtual policy briefing for patient advocacy groups and professional associations titled “Telehealth in a Post-Pandemic World: Preserving Gains and Ensuring Access to In-Person Care.” The event included an overview of how telehealth access has changed over the course of the pandemic; an update on policies being considered by CMS and Congress; the perspectives of patients and health care providers; and a discussion of issues for policymakers to consider as they determine how to provide coverage for telehealth and in-person care. The roundtable discussion led to the identification of eight key telehealth policy recommendations, which are as follows:
- Preserving the ability of health care providers and patients to choose when telehealth or in-person care is right for them;
- Improving network adequacy;
- Encouraging medical societies to create clinical guidelines to determine when it is appropriate for patients to be treated via telehealth services versus in-person;
- Educating and training providers to use telehealth as appropriate and recognize the instances in which care must be provided in-person;
- Allowing health care workers to come into the home to assist in practice of telehealth;
- Limiting audio-only visits to patients who truly require them and potentially combining them with an in-person requirement; and
- Ensuring that the structure of patient cost-sharing for telehealth and in-person does not incentivize one method over the other.