CHCANYS, NYS Council Release Key Recommendations for Continuing and Expanding Remote Care Post-Pandemic;
Read the Full Report HERE

The Community Health Care Association of New York State (the Association) today released its key recommendations for remote care delivery, also known as telehealth, in the post-pandemic world. The recommendations follow a well-received paper released by the Association and the New York State Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare (NYS Council) in June, which outlined key principles for New York State in their efforts to improve remote care delivery and reimbursement structures enabled during the pandemic.

In response to that paper, the New York State Department of Health (DOH) asked the Association to do additional research on community health center patient and provider attitudes and beliefs about remote care, and deliver recommendations for remote care delivery post-pandemic. Key recommendations include:

  • Utilize telehealth to increase access and promote health equity
  • Maximize regulatory flexibilities to sustain telehealth adoption
  • Clinicians, in collaboration with clients, determine when a telehealth visit is appropriate
  • Reimburse remote care (telehealth and telephone) on par with in-person visits

Association President and CEO Rose Duhan said, “Providers and patients agree – telehealth is a welcome and necessary tool for offering primary care that is accessible to everyone. The Association is grateful to have the opportunity to share the recommendations of health center patients and providers with the state and to see those recommendations highlighted in Governor Cuomo’s State of the State address. We look forward to working with our partners in government and health care to build a telehealth system that works for all patients and is funded in a way that recognizes the work involved at the provider level.”

The Association’s work was funded by the RCHN Community Health Foundation, which allowed us to work with New York University Grossman School of Medicine researchers to conduct qualitative interviews with patients and providers at eight FQHCs across the State to better understand patient and provider perspectives of remote care and corresponding implications for care delivery once the pandemic ends.

“This important and timely research shows that telehealth has helped overcome access challenges in medically underserved areas across the state,” said Feygele Jacobs, President and CEO of the RCHN Community Health Foundation. “As health centers work to address the post-pandemic needs of their patients and communities, it’s essential that policies support the effective adoption and sustainable use of remote visits.”

“The conclusions of the telehealth research conducted by the Association with community health center patients and providers is consistent with what NYS Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare member organizations have experienced throughout the pandemic. COVID-19 initially forced providers to quickly adapt and begin using telehealth as a primary modality to ensure ongoing access to and continuity of care for tens of thousands of New Yorkers with mental health and substance use disorder conditions. But now, with increasing rates of client satisfaction combined with its ability to reduce healthcare disparities, telehealth must be permitted to flourish and it must be reimbursed on par with face-to-face care. We look forward to our ongoing partnership with the Community Health Care Association as we work together to promote adoption of a robust and permanent telehealth program that puts the needs and preferences of care recipients at the center of decision-making as to when and under what circumstances telehealth should be employed,” said Lauri Cole, Executive Director of the NYS Council.

To read the full paper, click here.

The Community Health Care Association of New York State is a membership organization representing New York’s 70-plus Community Health Centers (CHCs). CHCs provide care for 1-in-9 New Yorkers at more than 800 locations across the state. CHCs are a “one-stop shop” for health care, providing high quality primary and preventive care and support services to all New Yorkers, regardless of their immigration status, insurance coverage, or ability to pay.