Telehealth Equity 3
The Illinois Telehealth Initiative (ITI) is a project of the nonprofit Partnership for a Connected Illinois (PCI). Over the last five years, ITI organized law and policy forums examining the telehealth landscape in Illinois and across the nation. The forums feature interactive panel discussion on the current legal and regulatory environment for telehealth, reimbursement trends and opportunities, and telemedicine delivery and business models.
Telehealth is bring introduced to a healthcare system that suffers from inequities. Disparities in healthcare for underserved and rural communities were well documented prior to the pandemic. COVID-19 significantly exacerbated many of these underlying inequities and shone a much-needed light on barriers to equitable healthcare. Proactive steps must be taken to assure telehealth equity and that telehealth can become a great equalizer.
This third in a series of virtual forums, "How Technology Can Help Medical-Legal Partnerships Address Social Determinants of Health," will be held on October 7 at noon CST.
While the COVID-19 pandemic certainly exacerbated health issues for many, it also worsened what many refer to as "health-harming legal needs," or a "social problem that adversely affects a person's health or access to healthcare, and that is better remedied through joint legal care and healthcare than through healthcare services alone. It is a type of social determinant of health."
Due to the nature of the pandemic, the use of technology to address these needs also grew. As reimbursement policies for telehealth loosened, more vulnerable and underserved communities were accessing healthcare services. This provided an opportunity to utilize this technology to also address social determinants of health, such as safe and affordable housing, unemployment benefits, and immigration status, through the use of Medical-Legal Partnerships (MLPs).