New Buckeye Institute Report Outlines Benefits of Telehealth, Urges Ohio Policymakers to Permanently Expand Access

Sep 23, 2020

Columbus, OH – On Wednesday, The Buckeye Institute released Access to Health Care Made Easier: Promoting Best Practices in Ohio’s Telehealth Policy, which looks at the benefits of telehealth that the increase in demand and use during the pandemic have revealed. With the benefits of telehealth evident, the report outlines why expanded access to telehealth should be made permanent, which lawmakers are considering in House Bill 679. 

“State policymakers should encourage expanded telehealth use and innovation,” writes James B. Woodward, Ph.D., an economic research analyst with the Economic Research Center at The Buckeye Institute and the author of Access to Health Care Made Easier. “[T]here is now widespread agreement among patients, care providers, and lawmakers that telehealth offers patients safe, effective, and efficient options in health care, and the time has come to adjust the rules that govern it.”

In the report, Woodward outlines telehealth’s clinical- and cost-effectiveness and urges Ohio policymakers to permanently expand access to telehealth. He goes on to outline minor changes to House Bill 679 that would maximize telehealth’s advantages including:

  • Leaving cost-sharing requirements up to insurers and care providers to negotiate, which will help level the playing field between treatment options and make telehealth’s overall value clearer;
  • Avoiding limits on telehealth services to certain treatments, conditions, or providers; and 
  • Encouraging Ohio’s medical board to adopt language that holds providers to the same standards as in-person care.

Woodward also encourages policymakers to allow medical professionals licensed in other states to treat patients in Ohio, writing that “although Ohio has many fine medical establishments, much of Ohio’s population lives within easy driving distance of medical professionals in neighboring states, and Ohio’s policies should not prevent them from seeing their chosen care providers.” 

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