Regulatory Flexibility

Executive orders and regulatory changes to promote the effective use of the health workforce.

(09/16/20) A Brief History of the Future: Healthcare Amid the Pandemic
Regulatory flexibility, reimbursement expansion, and scope of practice changes are just some of the ways COVID-19 has impacted the health care industry in a legal capacity. This brief from McAfee & Taft highlights much of the notable changes experienced from the initial stages of the pandemic to today.

(09/09/20) Medicaid Managed Care Rates and Flexibilities: State Options to Respond to COVID-19 Pandemic
This issue brief released from the Kaiser Family Foundation describes many of the flexibilities and other changes states have implemented to their Medicaid programs in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Reimbursement changes seeking to increase access and coverage for COVID-19 related visits are common themes.

(09/03/20) Lessons Learned and Insights Gained: A Regulatory Analysis of the Impacts, Challenges, and Responses to COVID-19
This regulatory analysis published in The Online Journal of Issues in Nursing takes a look at many of the regulatory changes in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. As nurses have been at the forefront of the pandemic, nursing regulators across the United States have made many changes rapidly, with review of much of the direction only now being analyzed.

(09/01/20) CMS Proposes Significant Changes to Remote Patient Monitoring Coverage
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has announced clarifications in rules that enable providers to establish and operate remote patient monitoring programs. The flexibility seen during the COVID-19 pandemic has been restricted.

(08/31/20) How COVID-19 Has Unburdened US Physicians In Some Ways
This podcast, produced by Health Affairs, features a discussion with Christine Sinsky of the American Medical Association about relaxed regulation and expansion of physician capacity due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

08/24/20) COVID-19 Pandemic Sends Many State Licensing Exams on Furlough
The Professional Licensing Report published this article covering some of the state licensing exams impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. In efforts to reduce in-person numbers, some tests have been furloughed and some moved to alternate formats.

(08/21/20) It’s Time to Permanently Suspend Regulatory Barriers to Telehealth
The use of telehealth technology to deliver quality health care has risen substantially amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Emergency regulations have enabled access and utilization like never seen before, and many are calling for permanent suspension of regulatory barriers to enable telehealth technology to continue to thrive.

(08/13/20) Treats Act Aims to Expand Use of Telehealth to Treat Substance Use Disorder
This article in the National Law Review covers the introduction of a new bill called the Treats Act with a goal of reducing regulatory barriers health care providers face in writing prescriptions through telehealth services. The bipartisan legislation has entered the committee process and aims to develop a pathway to specifically address controlled substance prescriptions for those with substance use disorders.

(08/05/20) Senators Eye Telehealth Licensure Freedom During COVID-19 Emergency
An article covering a new bipartisan bill proposed by Senators Chris Murphy and Roy Blunt with the purpose of allowing interstate licensure for telehealth treatment. State specific licensure requirements are a major barrier to telehealth expansion.

(08/03/20) Key Questions About Nursing Home Regulation and Oversight in the Wake of COVID-19
An issue brief from the Kaiser Family Foundation investigating the impact of regulation and oversight of nursing homes in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. As reports are becoming available it is evident that the majority of nursing homes met the needs of infection control, however nursing home quality of care has been raised as a significant issue.

(07/28/20) AMA & Other Med Groups Express ‘Dismay’ at Prospect of Waivers Made Permanent
An article covering a recent letter sent by the American Medical Association and signed by over 100 physician groups calling for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to end the temporary expansion of licensure and scope of practice for non-physician health care providers when the COVID-19 pandemic ends.

(07/23/20) The Pharmacist’s Role in COVID-19 Response Efforts
A blog post published in Health Affairs discussing the actual and potential impact of pharmacists to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, given the scope of practice and licensure flexibility many states have allowed for the public health emergency. The post also covers the opportunities for future changes to improve effectiveness and capacity of pharmacists.

(07/16/20) Expanding Telehealth in a Post-COVID World
An article from the National Law Review covering changes in regulation and expansion to telehealth services expected following the end of the COVID-19 pandemic, based on the changes made to address the pandemic. Historic regulations that worked to limit telehealth services have now been largely replaced with those in favor of telehealth service, and that is likely to remain.

(07/13/20) NY Providers Urge Measures to Sustain Telehealth Access Post-COVID
Health care advocacy organizations in New York are calling for making permanent many of the regulatory changes that have improved access to health care through telehealth visits. They are also requesting more flexibility in which health care providers are allowed to offer telehealth services.

(07/09/20) After the Curve: An Analysis of the Changing Face of Healthcare
A legal analysis of the many changes that have occurred in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, ranging from topics of digital health to changes to providers, from health insurance coverage to regulatory and enforcement changes for health care providers.

(06/29/20) Is It Fair? How To Approach Professional Scope-Of-Practice Policy After The COVID-19 Pandemic
A blog post discussing scope of practice laws and regulations that have changed how health care providers practice during the COVID-19 pandemic. As the pandemic continues, there is an ongoing question of which regulations should remain beyond the emergency.

(06/22/20) Idaho Gov. Little Signs Executive Order Easing Telehealth Restrictions Permanently
An article describing a new executive order signed by the Governor of Idaho, Brad Little, to make some of the regulatory changes enacted to address the COVID-19 pandemic permanent. The state has seen widespread adoption of telehealth services compared to before the pandemic.

(06/17/20) Senate HELP Committee Weighs the Future of Telehealth
An article covering the debate among members of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions on which changes to telehealth should be maintained following the COVID-19 pandemic. Two regulatory changes likely to be maintained include the changes to originating site reimbursement and the expansion of Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement for telehealth visits.

(06/08/20) COVID-19 Reveals the Power of Deregulation
An article from Sally Pipes, president and CEO of the free-market think-tank the Pacific Research Institute for Public Policy, covering some of the emergency regulatory changes made in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

(06/03/20) FTC Asks CMS to Lift Telehealth Access, Reimbursement Restrictions Permanently
An article discussing a new letter sent from the Federal Trade Commission to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services calling for removing regulatory barriers for both telehealth and increasing the scope of practice of some non-physician practitioners.

(05/26/20) CMS Modifies Rules to Allow for COVID-19 Tests Without Physician Orders, Expanded Telehealth and Enhanced Payments for Hospital Owned Practices
An article describing new waivers that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services have enacted in order to further regulatory flexibility to impact COVID-19 testing, care capacity and the health workforce, and an expansion of telehealth services

(05/26/20) COVID-19: Occupational Licensing During Public Emergencies
This frequently updated page on the National Conference of State Legislatures website describes individual state’s emergency actions related to health care licensure.

(05/19/20) HHS Issues Blanket Waivers for Stark Law – Physician Self-Referral in Response to Pandemic
An article discussing the United States Department of Health and Human Services new announcement of blanket waivers of the Stark Law, which will allow health care providers more ability for self-referral of procedures.

(05/14/20) COVID-19 Telehealth Waivers Won’t Last Forever, But Permanent Regulatory Changes Are Afoot
An article discussing the changes to telehealth regulations from the federal level that are set to expire after the COVID-19 pandemic has passed. Congress may be interested in greater regulatory freedom for telehealth practices based on the widespread rapid adoption of telehealth by health care providers.

(05/14/20) COVID-19 and State Medical Liability Immunity
A blog post advocating for the changes many states have made to regulations to protect the health workforce from medical liability during the unprecedented COVID-19 crisis. The post contains a link to a rating system for the medical liability protections by each state.

(05/13/20) COVID-19 Related State Actions
An updated list from the Public Health Institute Center for Connected Health Policy on regulatory changes to telehealth and telemedicine practices across the United States, with clear descriptions of legal changes and sources linked for each state.

(05/08/20) COVID-19: Bill Seeks To Bring 40,000 Green Card Doctors, Nurses To US
An article describing proposed legislation from a bipartisan group of senators to address the shortage of doctors and nurses and issues with access to health care in the United States. The legislation would provide for up to 40,000 immigrant visas that were unused between 1992 and 2020 to finalize green card applications for foreign nurses and doctors.

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