Charleston, W.Va.: The West Virginia Association of Health Plans (WVAHP), made up of the managed care organizations (MCOs) that manage West Virginia’s Medicaid Program, announced this week that they strongly support legislative changes to expand opportunities for telehealth programs within the state.
Since March, the Governor’s Executive Order 07-20 has suspended statutory requirements related to telehealth in order to provide a safer environment for the state’s at-risk communities to receive healthcare. The Executive Order has, among other things:
· Suspended the requirement that physician-patient relationships may not be established through audio-only or text-based communications.
· Suspended the requirement that a telehealth physician be licensed specifically in West Virginia to provide care through telehealth means.
“We appreciate the steps that the Governor has taken to provide greater access to telehealth systems in light of the COVID-19 crisis.” said Ben Beakes, WVAHP executive director. “The pandemic will have a major effect on healthcare – and how people receive it - for the foreseeable future. Portions of the changes made by the Governor’s Executive Order should be made permanent to ensure West Virginians always have access to the care they need.”
The WVAHP joins the calls of legislators and other groups from around the state in supporting the permanent suspension of the provisions outlined above.