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Policy on Advancing Telehealth Beyond COVID-19 Act of 2022

Since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, technology use in healthcare worldwide, specifically in the United States, has been rising. Notably, due to the Covid-19 restriction policies, consumers and providers sought mechanisms to access and deliver healthcare safely (Reay et al., 2020). As such, telehealth gained popularity as it provides mechanisms through which care providers can directly monitor patients remotely while in the comforts of their homes. Zhou et al. (2020) opine that the overall utilization of telehealth in the United States for outpatient care and office visits rose significantly. For instance, telehealth technology was 78 times higher in April 2020 compared to February 2020 due to the abrupt surge in Covid-19 infections.

To entrench the adoption of technology, the United States Congress passed a bill allowing the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to consider the use of telehealth as part of the services that could be covered by their healthcare policy (HHS, n.d.). Since then, telehealth has become a norm as patients are monitored from home and do not have to visit hospitals physically. CMS approved the telehealth technology as part of the Covid-19 Public Health Emergency to address the pandemic. As such, the health policy of concern addresses the extension of telehealth services beyond the initial timelines approved by the Covid-19 Public Health Emergency period. Zhou et al. (2020) explain that using telehealth in healthcare service provision helps improve the quality of care. This is because it allows many patients to be monitored with little resources compared to when they physically visit healthcare institutions. The paper will focus on how the policy on the advanced use of telehealth has led to improved behavioral healthcare services.

Existing Strategies to Address the Issue

While the prevalence of behavioral health challenges has been on the rise in the United States, healthcare providers have devised different mechanisms of care provision. Holland et al. (2021) explain that many mental illness patients achieve recovery and strength by participating in individualized or group treatment. As such, the interventions adopted include psychotherapy, where a trained mental health professional explores the patient’s thoughts, behaviors, and feelings as they seek to improve the patient’s well-being (Reay et al., 2020). Medication has been used to help manage symptoms arising from mental health illness (Zhou et al., 2020). However, access to such mental health care services remains challenging as many patients still lack adequate financial capabilities to afford such treatments.

Three main policies that have been used to govern access to mental health care in the United States include the mental Health Policy of 1996, which was reviewed in 2008 (Reay et al., 2020). The policy targeted employee-sponsored group health plans in large companies. In essence, it prohibited group plans from imposing higher annual or lifeline limits on mental health benefits than those which apply to medical or surgical benefits. That is, it was meant to ensure that mental health patients do not receive higher charges in their policies hence improving accessibility among low-income families (Holland et al., 2021).

Another policy focusing on improved access f mental health care is the American Disability Act which was meant to prevent employers from discriminating against qualified employees based on their disabilities, including mental health. Zhou et al. (2020) opine that when healthcare systems prioritize access to mental health services, patients have a reduced risk of chronic diseases that may be related to different mental illnesses. Therefore, governments must develop systems to enhance adequate care provision among patients diagnosed with mental illnesses (Holland et al., 2021). Since the American healthcare system is also governed by the different state laws enacted by the states, the states have developed different policies focusing on improving healthcare access within their states.

Before the Covid-19 pandemic, most healthcare services were offered by hospitals providing outpatient care through physical visits to the facilities (Holland et al., 2021). However, the advent of the pandemic led to the creation of policies that improve access to care services, even among patients in rural areas. As such, the enactment of health policy H.R. 4040 Advancing Telehealth Beyond COVID-19 Act of 2022 ensures that the improved access derived from using the technology is sustained (H.H.S. n.d).

Stakeholders Impacted

The introduction of telehealth services within the healthcare system in the United States has helped improve service delivery. This is due to the high-efficiency level derived from using the technology (Zhou et al., 2020). In this regard, it has helped to impact how healthcare service delivery is administered positively. Some stakeholders impacted by the H.R. 4040, Advancing Telehealth Beyond COVID-19 Act of 2022, policy include nurses, patients, and healthcare facilities. The patients directly involved in using such technology report positive outcomes as they can easily access healthcare services on a timely basis (Holland et al., 2021). The hospitals are engaged in providing the facilities to sustain care using technology; hence their involvement is necessary.

Given the introduction of telehealth care delivery strategy, public awareness and social support have been rising. That is, patients have been sensitized to accept technology in care provision as it positively impacts the quality of healthcare services. According to Reay et al. (2020), consumer research on telehealth has indicated that they consider it an essential modality for improving care services. For instance, the study shows that 58% of physicians view the technology as a positive introduction to healthcare. On the other hand, 40% and 60% of patients show interest in using virtual healthcare services owing to their efficiency. Zhou et al. (2020) opine that since the Covid-19 pandemic, many healthcare facilities have adopted technology to manage chronic diseases as the technology helps improve self-care delivery.

Ethical and Legal Considerations

The use of technology in healthcare has presented legal and ethical challenges that experts continue to develop strategies to address (Balestra, 2018) effectively. One of the concerns is the privacy concerns of patient data and the extent to which the technology can extract such data. Reay et al. (2020) opine that with strict compliance with HIPAA regulations, implementing telehealth technology can effectively address most of the privacy concerns. In inaccurate communication between patients and doctors, inaccurate and unclear reporting remains critical. As such, throughout its implementation across all healthcare facilities, compliance with various patient data safety protection, including HIPAA laws, is considered (Holland et al., 2021).

Implication in Nursing

While technology has positively impacted nursing by improving patient outcomes by ensuring that more individuals can receive timely nursing care. As such, some implications include the high cost of telehealth-related technologies and the increased requirement for nurses who know how to use such technology (Reay et al., 2020). Therefore, to help address the challenges, healthcare facilities can prioritize the education of nurses on technology use. Further, to reduce costs, healthcare facilities can integrate electronic health records (EHR) to ensure both technologies are monitored from one interphase (Balestra, 2018). Therefore, as demonstrated, using technology to provide healthcare services has improved access to behavioral health services and positive health outcomes.


Balestra, M. (2018). Telehealth and Legal Implications for Nurse Practitioners. The Journal for Nurse Practitioners14(1), 33–39.

HHS. (n.d.). Policy changes during the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency |

Holland, K. M., Jones, C., Vivolo-Kantor, A. M., Idaikkadar, N., Zwald, M., Hoots, B., Yard, E., D’Inverno, A., Swedo, E., Chen, M. S., Petrosky, E., Board, A., Martinez, P., Stone, D. M., Law, R., Coletta, M. A., Adjemian, J., Thomas, C., Puddy, R. W., & Peacock, G. (2021). Trends in US Emergency Department Visits for Mental Health, Overdose, and Violence Outcomes Before and During the COVID-19 Pandemic. JAMA Psychiatry78(4).

Reay, R. E., Looi, J. C., & Keightley, P. (2020). Telehealth mental health services during COVID-19: summary of evidence and clinical practice. Australasian Psychiatry28(5), 103985622094303.

Zhou, X., Snoswell, C. L., Harding, L. E., Bambling, M., Edirippulige, S., Bai, X., & Smith, A. C. (2020). The Role of Telehealth in Reducing the Mental Health Burden from COVID-19. Telemedicine and E-Health26(4).


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