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Volume XI, Number 211

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The “State” of Telehealth: Delaware Expands Access to Telehealth

On June 23, 2021, Delaware Governor John Carney signed House Bill 160, the Telehealth Access Preservation and Modernization Act of 2021 (the “Bill” or “HB160”) which continues and enhances Delaware residents’ access to telehealth services and, through the adoption of the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact (the “Compact”), ensures that telehealth services can be provided through qualified medical practitioners in a streamlined and efficient pathway to licensure that, according to the Bill’s supporters, meets the health care delivery system needs of the 21st century.

Consistent with recent trends, the Bill makes permanent some of the temporary provisions issued by the Governor during the public health crisis (the “Pandemic”). HB160 extends the Delaware emergency order (the “E.O”) which permitted the use of telemedicine services by residents even without the commonly required initial in-person visit. In addition, HB160 permits telehealth appointments to occur through the use of audio-only technologies which, as discussed in our December 31, 2020 blog post, “The Permanency for Audio-Only Telehealth Act: A Matter of Healthcare Equity?,” creates equity in the use of telemedicine services for those individuals that do not have access to broadband or wi-fi networks. State Senator Sarah McBride, one of the Bill’s sponsors, noted during the signing, that “Families in rural communities will be able to access telehealth even if they struggle with reliable internet.” Further, Senator McBride stated that, because of the Bill, “A single working mom will be able to better communicate with her provider after hours. People with disabilities will face diminished barriers to care.”

Among other things, the Bill will also bring Delaware into the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact (the “Compact”) which makes the process for obtaining medical licensure in 29 of the 50 states much simpler for those who already hold a primary license in one of the participating states. The Bills supporters believe that joining the other states in the licensure compact will improve residents' access to care. One of the supports, Wayne Smith, the President, and CEO of  the Delaware Healthcare Association, noted that “the [Bill] is of great significance, and particularly for a small state if you think of the number of specialists [in state] versus outside of our borders.”

HB160 came into effect as of July 1, 2021, and the state is expected to join the Compact in July of 2022. 

Copyright © 2021, Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton LLP.National Law Review, Volume XI, Number 193
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About this Author

Matthew Shatzkes Attorney New York Sheppard Mullin
Partner

Matthew Shatzkes is a partner in the Corporate Practice Group in the New York office of Sheppard Mullin and is a member of the firm’s healthcare practice team.

Areas of Practice

Matthew provides strategic, regulatory, compliance, and transactional advice to all manner of health care clients, including health systems, hospitals, academic medical centers, long-term care providers, ambulatory surgery centers, diagnostic and treatment centers, physician practices, digital health companies and investors....

212-634-3062
Ehiguina L. Borha Corporate Attorney Sheppard Mullin New York, NY
Associate

Ehi Borha is an associate in the Corporate Practice Group in the firm's New York office. 

Areas of Practice

Ehi's practice focuses on healthcare M&A and regulatory matters. He is a former member of the New York Due Diligence Group where he worked on the diligence aspect of a number of M&A transactions. Ehi is a 2019 graduate of New York Law School, where he served as a member of the mediation and negotiation clinic and completed a concentration in business and corporate law. He received his Bachelor of Arts in English Literature & Sociology from...

212-896-0628
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