Telehealth for an Aging Population: How Can Law Influence Adoption Among Providers, Payors, and Patients?

46 Am. J.L. & Med. 311 (2020)

Arizona Legal Studies Discussion Paper No. 20-33

15 Pages Posted: 30 Jul 2020

See all articles by Tara Sklar

Tara Sklar

University of Arizona - James E. Rogers College of Law

Christopher T. Robertson

Boston University; University of Arizona - James E. Rogers College of Law; Harvard University - Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology, and Bioethics

Date Written: July 20, 2020

Abstract

Telehealth continues to experience substantial investment, innovation, and unprecedented growth. However, telehealth has been slow to transform healthcare. Recent developments in telehealth technologies suggest great potential for chronic care management, mental health services, and care delivery in the homeā€”all of which should be particularly impactful for an aging population with physical and cognitive limitations. While this alignment of technological capacity and market demand is promising, legal barriers remain for telehealth operators to scale up across large geographic areas. To better understand how federal and state law can be reformed to enable greater telehealth utilization, we review and extract lessons from (1) establishment of a healthcare relationship, (2) state licensure laws, and (3) reimbursement. We analyze these areas because of the legal ambiguities or inconsistencies they raise depending on the state, which seem to be hampering telehealth growth without necessarily improving quality of care. We propose several solutions for a more unified approach to telehealth regulation that incorporate core bioethics principles of doctor-patient relationship, competence, patient autonomy, as well as population-wide questions of resource allocation and access. Lawmakers should clarify that healthcare relationships may be established outside of in-person meetings, align licensure laws via an interstate compact or federal preemption, and expand Centers for Medicare and Medicaid plans to reimburse telehealth delivery in the home.

Keywords: Telehealth, healthcare, telehealth technology, state licensure law, reimbursement, regulation, quality of care, patient autonomy

Suggested Citation

Sklar, Tara and Robertson, Christopher T., Telehealth for an Aging Population: How Can Law Influence Adoption Among Providers, Payors, and Patients? (July 20, 2020). 46 Am. J.L. & Med. 311 (2020) , Arizona Legal Studies Discussion Paper No. 20-33, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3656753

Tara Sklar (Contact Author)

University of Arizona - James E. Rogers College of Law ( email )

P.O. Box 210176
Tucson, AZ 85721-0176
United States

Christopher T. Robertson

Boston University ( email )

765 Commonwealth Avenue
Boston, MA 02215
United States
6179100649 (Phone)
02215 (Fax)

University of Arizona - James E. Rogers College of Law ( email )

P.O. Box 210176
Tucson, AZ 85721-0176
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.law.arizona.edu/faculty/getprofile.cfm?facultyid=714

Harvard University - Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology, and Bioethics ( email )

23 Everett Street
Cambridge, MA 02155
United States

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