RELEASE: States Can Improve Access to Sexual and Reproductive Health Care Via Expanded Telehealth Services

Washington, D.C. — Today, the Center for American Progress’ Women’s Initiative released a new issue brief that outlines the ways states can improve access to sexual and reproductive health (SRH) services through telehealth. The availability of telehealth services has been critical in ensuring patients’ continued access to care during the COVID-19 pandemic. An unprecedented wave of regulatory and legislative attacks in recent years—designed to chip away at women’s access to in-person SRH services—has further underscored the need for robust telehealth services and infrastructure for SRH service delivery.

The issue brief provides an overview of the current telehealth SRH landscape, explores the importance of telehealth for marginalized communities’ access to care, calls for improved safeguards to protect patients’ privacy as telehealth continues to grow in popularity, and offers several state recommendations to expand access to telehealth SRH services, including:

  • Removing coverage and reimbursement limitations by expanding the list of eligible originating sites, broadening the types of permitted telehealth modalities, and allowing additional provider types to offer telehealth
  • Requiring payment parity to ensure telehealth services are reimbursed at the same rate as in-person services
  • Adopting multistate licensure compacts that allow providers to offer services across state lines
  • Investing in telehealth infrastructure, including expanding access to reliable and affordable broadband and wireless services

“While the federal government has taken steps to expand telehealth services—by lifting coverage restrictions on telehealth during the pandemic and providing funding under the CARES Act, among other things—this does not go far enough. States must do more to ensure that their residents have improved access to health care and specifically, sexual and reproductive health services.This brief outlines some of the structural reforms we think can improve access to this threatened but vital set of health services while also safeguarding patient privacy,” said Osub Ahmed, senior policy analyst for women’s health and rights with the Women’s Initiative at CAP and author of the brief.

Please click here to read: “States Must Expand Telehealth To Improve Access to Sexual and Reproductive Health Care” by Osub Ahmed

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