The COVID-19 pandemic has made virtual health care a permanent fixture of care delivery — at least as far as patients, practitioners and health plans are concerned. But the regulatory future of telehealth is still an open question: New state and federal policies on virtual care were implemented on a temporary, emergency basis and will expire in coming months unless state legislatures and Congress act.

Forty-four bills have been introduced by members of Congress from both parties and both chambers to address telehealth issues, according to JD Supra. Many emergency policies were enacted by HHS to increase telehealth access during the pandemic, but they will expire with the public health emergency, which is currently set to end 60 days after Jan. 15, 2022. At the state level, the picture becomes even more complicated. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, 37 states and D.C. enacted some sort of policy that expanded telehealth services during the pandemic.

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