August 17, 2023

On August 17, 2023, NYHealth hosted a webinar on telehealth and the end of the Public Health Emergency (PHE). Speakers were Jared Augenstein, Managing Director, Manatt Health; Mary Zelazny, CEO, Finger Lakes Community Health; and Robert Hayes, President & CEO, Community Healthcare Network. Panelists shared an overview of the evolving telehealth policy landscape; the impact of these shifting policies on patient care; and their perspectives on policy changes needed to preserve equitable access to virtual care.

The use of telehealth skyrocketed in New York State during the COVID-19 pandemic, facilitated by temporary policy expansions enacted during the Public Health Emergency (PHE). Following the end of the PHE, the State and federal government have been reconsidering telehealth policies. For example, a PHE-era policy that offered flexibility for community health centers to provide behavioral telehealth visits has ended. Now, providers must physically be in their clinics to see patients virtually—leaving fewer providers available and reducing access to behavioral health care for low-income patients.

Careful examination of changing telehealth policies is needed to ensure that patients of all backgrounds continue to have choices for accessing care virtually; that providers can leverage technology to meet patient needs in the face of workforce strains; and that policies do not exacerbate health care disparities.

Watch the webinar recording.

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