Annual 50-State Telehealth Report Finds Slowed Progress in 2023

Idaho, Louisiana and Utah Stand Out for New Updates

Austin, Texas, Jan. 23, 2024 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- A new report by Cicero Institute, Pioneer Institute, and Reason Foundation reveals worrying stagnation in state-level telehealth expansion efforts in 2023, with only a few exceptions. Progress made during the pandemic is being lost even as provider shortages worsen, raising concerns about patients’ access to care.

“In the face of desperate need for innovative healthcare solutions, many state leaders are inexplicably dropping the ball on telehealth,” says Josh Archambault, a senior fellow at Cicero and Pioneer Institutes.

The report grades every state’s telehealth laws in four areas crucial to patients, quality of care, and creating a regulatory environment that allows future healthcare improvements. It recommends that states:

  • Update Telehealth Definitions: Embrace inclusive definitions that don't favor specific models, empowering both providers and patients with options and fostering future advancements.
  • Ensure Modal Neutrality: Allow providers and patients to pick the form of telehealth that is best to start their relationship.
  • Open Interstate Telehealth: Break down barriers to allow patients to access qualified telehealth services, and doctors across state lines.
  • Guarantee Provider Scope Flexibility: Permit providers to use telehealth technologies to offer all the medical services they’re trained to provide.

“Idaho, Louisiana, and Utah deserve special recognition for the largest telehealth policy updates passed in 2023,” said Vittorio Nastasi, a policy analyst at Reason Foundation and co-author of the report. “Other states should take notice and copy their reforms.”

Idaho’s new law allows providers and patients to start a relationship using asynchronous telehealth (i.e. communication that is not live). The state also passed another law that allows for interstate telehealth care for behavioral health.

Louisiana now requires its licensing boards to put out rules for interstate telehealth access.

Utah passed one of the most promising reforms, implementing predictable and streamlined application processes for a “nonresident healthcare license” to be automatically approved if a licensing board does not review the application in a timely manner. 

Despite these bright spots, only Arizona and Delaware have achieved gold ratings across all four key telehealth best practices, signaling their commitment to patient access and provider flexibility. In contrast, three states—New Jersey, South Carolina, and Virginia—fail to score gold in any of the four categories.

“Cutting red tape is key for providers and patients to unleash the full potential of telehealth,” emphasizes Ally Perkins, co-author and a research assistant at Cicero Institute. “Patients in rural communities, those with disabilities, and seniors need more options for care, and telehealth offers a clear solution.”




2024 State Policy Agenda for Telehealth Innovation

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