US telehealth task force publishes final recommendations

The Taskforce on Telehealth Policy (TTP) in the USA was formed to assess early findings and experiences under the flexibilities made by the US Congress and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The TTP has released consensus recommendations and called policymakers to make most, but not all, of the amendments made to increase access to telehealth. They include the following: (a) lifting geographic restrictions and limitations on originating sites of care; (b) allowing telehealth for various types of clinicians and cares; (c) acknowledging that telehealth visits can meet requirements for establishing a relationship between a clinician and patient if the interaction meets appropriate care standards or unless analysis demonstrates that a previous in-person relationship is necessary; (d) removing unnecessary restrictions on telehealth across state lines. The TTP further stated that the enforcement of Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), which was suspended at the beginning of the pandemic, should be reinstated to protect patient privacy.