September 14, 2020

ATA Letter to Four Western Governors in Support of Effort to Coordinate on Telehealth

Western Governors Letter September 2020


The following letter was sent to the Governors of Colorado, Nevada, Oregon and Washington on September 11, 2020. You can download a copy of the letter or read the text below. 

September 11, 2020

Dear Governor Brown, Governor Inslee, Governor Polis, and Governor Sisolak,

On behalf of the telehealth industry, and the over 400 organizations we as the American Telemedicine Association (ATA) represent, I am writing to express our strong support for your joint announcement on August 5, 2020 that your states will be working together on telehealth issues. We commend your work to identify best practices that support telehealth services for residents of your states and your resolve to have individual state-driven approaches to implementing telehealth policies. We hope to be a resource for your efforts in identifying best practices and welcome a conversation to share lessons learned from ATA’s experiences across the country.

Telehealth and virtual care solutions provide a pathway to improve access to health care for residents in your states, including individuals:

  • In rural areas: These individuals face a multitude of challenges when trying to access quality health care. In addition to a lack of broadband, these citizens often face long travel times and distances. These challenges increase when trying to get an appointment for specialty care. With challenging work or family schedules: Individuals may not be able to seek care because of challenging work schedules or commitments to care for children or aging relatives.
  • Who are homebound or have limited mobility: Individuals may have difficulty seeking care because of disabilities or health problems.
  • Who are embarrassed or anxious in seeking care: Individuals may be intimidated or anxious in seeking in-person care.

The overarching principles you laid out in your announcement align with the ATA policy principles we have laid out:

  1. Ensure Patient Choice, Access, and Satisfaction
  2. Enhance Provider Autonomy
  3. Expand Reimbursement to Incentivize 21st Century Virtual Care
  4. Enable Healthcare Delivery Across State Lines
  5. Ensure Access to Non-Physician Providers
  6. Expand Access for Underserved and At-risk Populations
  7. Support Seniors and Expand “Aging in Place”
  8. Protect Patient Privacy and Mitigate Cybersecurity Risks
  9. Ensure Program Integrity

We would appreciate a better understanding of the challenges facing your individual states and a greater understanding of the work you and your teams are doing to follow up on this important announcement.

Please do not hesitate to contact us at the ATA to let us know how we can be helpful to your efforts to advance common sense telehealth in each of your states. If you have any questions or would like to further discuss the telehealth industry’s perspective, please contact Kyle Zebley, the ATA’s Policy Director, at kzebley@americantelemed.org.

Kind regards,

Ann Mond Johnson
CEO
American Telemedicine Association