Beacon Impact

Eliminate Barriers to Telehealth

During the COVID-19 pandemic, millions of Americans tried telehealth for the first time, and Tennesseans were no exception. Since then, every state has addressed their laws and regulations around telehealth hoping to encourage the use of this innovation in the delivery of healthcare. It is here, however, where Tennessee is the exception. Tennessee is the only state in the nation that requires a patient to have an in-person visit with a provider before being able to utilize telehealth.

Requiring a patient to drive hours to hours for what could have been a virtual visit creates an access to care issue in a state that already has a shortage of healthcare providers. By removing the in-person visit required to establish and maintain a telehealth relationship, many Tennesseans could have better access to healthcare.

STATUS UPDATE: This legislation was passed by the General Assembly to remove barriers to telehealth. The final version removed the requirement that the patient see the provider every 16 months in order to continue the telehealth relationship, but leaving the discretion on in-person visits to the provider. We want to thank Senator Becky Massey and Representative Timothy Hill for championing teleheath in Tennessee.

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