Thanks to increasingly popular technology, you no longer need to leave the comfort of your home to get basic medical care. Telemedicine allows you to meet with your healthcare provider via smartphone or computer.
For states with large rural areas, like West Virginia, telemedicine could provide healthcare for residents who have limited transportation options or simply want the convenience of speaking to a provider from home. It’s especially helpful for the most at-risk populations such as older residents or those with existing health conditions.
Imagine a woman in her late 50s, living in Jefferson County and struggling with Type 2 diabetes. She has been unable to travel to her doctor on a regular basis, and her unmanaged diabetes is leading to severe fatigue, blurred vision, and frequent infections. These symptoms make it difficult for her to work or visit friends, and she is becoming isolated and depressed. With telemedicine, she has renewed hope. Her doctor is able to visit with her on her computer or phone to provide the healthcare she needs.
At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Justice issued executive order 7-20 expanding access to telemedicine by allowing medical providers licensed in other states to provide telemedicine services to residents of West Virginia. It also allows providers to use technology beyond simple videos to deliver much needed healthcare. Unfortunately, these changes are only temporary.
West Virginia should join the dozens of other states that have passed telemedicine laws and allow providers of all kinds to use telemedicine. It’s time to make these changes permanent, and renew hope for ALL West Virginians.