As the COVID-19 pandemic reached its worst in 2020, access to digital health services emerged as a silver lining in a dark cloud. The ability to remotely consult with physicians, nurse practitioners and other clinicians allowed patients to continue their healthcare treatment while avoiding exposure to the virus.
A significant boost came when Medicaid and Medicare expanded coverage to include digital services, often referred to as telehealth. However, that expanded coverage may soon end. If that happens, it will be a serious setback for health equity.
Some lawmakers and healthcare companies are calling for the pandemic changes to be permanent. An act extending telehealth medicine support for Medicare patients to at least 2024 is currently under consideration in the U.S. Congress.