2020, Academic Paper

A Call for Commercial Payment Parity for Telehealth Services

HELEN WICKSTROM

The growth of telehealth services in the U.S. has increased access to clinical care, enabling practitioners to remotely diagnose, treat, and monitor patients. Recently, a heightened urgency for health organizations to utilize “at-a-distance” treatment solutions has been felt across the country due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. This surge in demand for telemedicine and telehealth services, especially to ensure the safety of “at-risk” populations, has brought underlying issues with these services to the attention of the large body of healthcare practitioners, many who are family physicians, now providing virtual care. Currently, commercial payer reimbursement statutes for telehealth and other digital health services lack clarity and possess major limitations. The American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) supports federal legislation that would nationally synchronize reimbursement parity laws for telehealth services. A meaningful and consistent reimbursement statute will better enable our physicians to continue to adopt and use virtual care services, improving patient access to care.

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