The COVID-19 Pandemic has caused an incredible increase in telemedicine support, both from healthcare companies and the government, but how long will this support last? In Illinois, it looks like this support might be here to stay, as a coalition of Illinois healthcare providers and patient advocates has recently written to Illinois lawmakers asking for continued support of telemedicine services.
On March 19th, 2020, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker and the Department of Healthcare and Family Services passed an executive order that "temporarily lifted longstanding barriers to service access via telehealth for commercial health plans and Medicaid." The reduction of barriers to telehealth access has resulted in rapid investment and innovation by healthcare companies and service providers, and has in general supported the adoption of socially distant patient interaction. However, unless state lawmakers make the executive order permanent, patient advocates are concerned about a sudden drop in care, stating "providers and professionals will not have the certainty they need to continue to invest in and utilize new care delivery tools, and Illinois residents will abruptly lose access to the telehealth services they have relied on during the pandemic."
With almost 50% of Medicare fee-for-service primary care visits occurring remotely during the summer of 2020, it stands to reason that the Illinois General Assembly policymakers would be motivated to continue creating laws that support teleheath adoption into the future.
For more information on the letter from the Coalition to Protect of Telehealth, check out this link: https://www.healthleadersmedia.com/telehealth/illinois-lawmakers-pressed-protect-telehealth