Health Care Policy Impacts of COVID-19

May 8, 2020 | Hometown health JD Davis, Vice President, Public Policy, ABI,

As of this writing, the Iowa legislative session remains suspended and policymakers are at home. The state has yet to reach our projected peak number of coronavirus infections. Many non-essential businesses remain shuttered. Front line health care professionals responding to COVID-19 are acting heroically and tirelessly over a long response to the virus.

Government has recommended social distancing and is asking the sick to stay home rather than to visit their doctor. The adaptations required to respond to COVID-19 in the health care industry are unprecedented and attest to the ingenuity of Iowans.

Telemedicine, for instance, has delivered great benefits. Sick patients in rural settings, distant from needed care, are being screened through telemedicine at greater rates than before. Telemedicine also allows health care professionals to screen, diagnose and recommend treatments to a greater number of patients in a shorter amount of time than traditional office visits would allow. While telemedicine practices were evolving over time, the advent of COVID-19 has accelerated their use.

In response to COVID-19, Gov. Reynolds rightly and temporarily ordered that telemedicine services be reimbursed as though the patient were in a doctor’s office to spur the use of telemedicine. When we put this pandemic behind us—and we will—Iowa policymakers may choose to update public policy to recognize the efficiencies and benefits telemedicine brings to the provision of health care.

ABI staff will represent our members to ensure that these new efficiencies in the delivery of care are shared equitably between those who deliver that care and the patients and businesses who pay for those services.

Contact the ABI Public Policy Team

  • JD Davis; Vice President, Public Policy;; 515-979-1212
  • Brad Hartkopf; Director, Public Policy;; 712-249-8589