Last year, many of our day-to-day activities shifted from in-person to online, including work, school, and health care. This year, we are continuing to see this trend emerge in new ways, most recently in school-based telehealth legislation.
Maryland State Senator Cheryl Kagan recently introduced a bill to eliminate the condition that Maryland’s Departments of Health and Education have to approve school-based health centers before they can provide students with telehealth options. Currently, only 18 out of Maryland’s 86 school-based health centers, similar to nurses’ offices, have been approved to provide telehealth by the state. Students of the remaining 68 school systems are largely going without any school-based health resources. HB 34/SB 278 will make it easier for students to gain access to health services like they would when going to the nurse’s office in school during this new age of online learning.
Why We Need School-Based Telehealth Legislation
Millions of Americans have lost their jobs and their workplace health care coverage due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. With millions of children now attending school virtually, the higher unemployment rate has left many families with limited options for seeking health care for common issues in children like allergies and colds. During in-person school, children facing these issues are allowed to visit the nurse’s office, or another school-based health center, where they can receive treatment for these minor ailments. With kids at home, however, finding a qualified medical professional to provide treatment can be exceedingly difficult. School-based telehealth programs, then, could provide advice and treatment for these students without them having to visit an in-person clinic or doctor’s office.
Telehealth in 2021
Telehealth has become a hot commodity during the recent COVID-19 pandemic. With daily life shifting towards digitization and many fearing exposure to the dangerous virus, telehealth has provided a safer online alternative to non-emergent medical services. Through telehealth services, patients can gain access to an array of health care tools and services like online therapy sessions, preventative care reminders, and video or phone calls with health care providers. Recent trends show that the popularity of telehealth services continues to grow, due largely to the ease of receiving medical care for common issues like colds and sore throats. With bills like HB 34/SB 278 being written, we will likely see this field become even more prevalent in the coming years.
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We hope this information on new school-based telehealth legislation is helpful to you.
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