The COVID-19 public health crisis has fast-tracked significant transformations in our health care delivery system and a necessary shift toward telehealth.
To support expanded access to essential services during the declared state of emergency, public policy changes were implemented to allow providers greater flexibility to provide care through a broad range of telehealth modalities and give patients more opportunities to access care remotely. Changes in place also allow individuals to sign up for Family PACT and apply for Medi-Cal Minor Consent by telephone, rather than having to go in to a clinic or health center. Health care providers can also provide and get reimbursement for visits conducted by phone, video, or other telehealth platforms.
As we transition from emergency response to a new normal, the virtual care emergency flexibilities and payment parity polices must remain in place to better serve patients, meet them where they are, and address health care inequities. Many Californians in rural and urban regions, low-income communities, and Black, Indigenous and People of Color still struggle to access sexual and reproductive health services. Barriers to care include living in rural areas far from the nearest health center, lack of or unaffordable public transportation options, and inability to take time off from work or get child care to visit a health center.
The Take Action! Urge state leaders to maintain access to virtual care for all during the COVID-19 crisis and beyond.
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