Nathaniel Lacktman Comments on Future of the Telehealth Industry as States’ Pandemic Emergency Declarations Wind Down

19 April 2022 POLITICO Pro News

Foley & Lardner LLP Partner and Chair of the firm’s Telemedicine & Digital Health Industry Team Nathaniel Lacktman is quoted in the POLITICO Pro article, “Millions set to lose telehealth access across state lines as waivers wind down,” about how decisions made in the coming months over how and when to extend regulations like those in the pandemic could shape the telehealth industry for years to come.

The lifting of state waivers would usher in a return to a pre-pandemic system characterized by more restricted access to telehealth, exacerbate long-existing provider shortages by preventing patients from getting care in other states if theirs has an insufficient amount of providers, and lead to many patients losing access to their providers. A reciprocity system that would enable states to recognize each other’s licenses has been proposed, and supporters argue that this would allow states to maintain their role with an established consistent national infrastructure. But the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) would need to help develop the voluntary system. For instance, the federal government could tie federal funding, possibly Medicaid, to states that agree to accept each others’ licenses.

Lacktman said, "HHS is limited in what it can do but tying funding might 'strong-arm' states to adopt the change."

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