The NCSL Blog


By Jack Pitsor

Whether it was attending Zoom University or living that work-from-home life, COVID-19 led a lot of us to go about our day-to-day lives remotely. This, of course, is also true for many patients who sought out health care—and the providers who delivered those services—during the pandemic.

While the state telehealth policy landscape was quickly evolving prior to COVID-19, the pandemic led to a significant increase in telehealth use as well as numerous policy changes. To help state policymakers keep pace with key telehealth policy topics, NCSL just released a new resource: “The Telehealth Explainer Series: A Toolkit for State Legislators.”

This toolkit contains a series of briefs covering key topics, opportunities and challenges related to telehealth policy. When used as a combined series, the briefs provide both an overview and introduction to state roles in telehealth and include a variety of state legislative actions on several key policy areas.

From states extending Medicaid coverage for different methods of telehealth to enacting legislation to make previously temporary COVID-related telehealth policies permanent, state lawmakers are evaluating telehealth laws and regulations and exploring ways to effectively leverage virtual care moving forward. This toolkit captures these telehealth trends and more.

Telehealth topics covered in this series are:

  • What is Telehealth?
  • Medicaid Reimbursement for Telehealth
  • Telehealth Private Insurance Laws
  • Licensure and Interstate Compacts
  • Ensuring Patient Safety, Security and Quality of Care
  • Improving Behavioral Health from Afar
  • Telehealth, COVID-19 and Looking Ahead

Still looking for more telehealth resources and opportunities? Register for our webinar, “Telehealth: A Flash in the Pan(demic) or Here for the Long Haul?” The event, scheduled Wednesday, Aug. 25 at 2 p.m. EST, will feature national experts and state legislative respondents who will discuss the myriad changes to telehealth policies during the pandemic and which of these changes may stick around for the long haul.

Additional Resources

Jack Pitsor is a policy associate in NCSL's Health Program

Email Jack

This resource is supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of an award totaling $853,466 with 100% funded by HRSA/HHS. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by HRSA, HHS, or the U.S. Government.

Posted in: Health, COVID-19
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About the NCSL Blog

This blog offers updates on the National Conference of State Legislatures' research and training, the latest on federalism and the state legislative institution, and posts about state legislators and legislative staff. The blog is edited by NCSL staff and written primarily by NCSL's experts on public policy and the state legislative institution.