Delaware Lifts Certain State Telehealth Restrictions

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On March 18, 2020, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Delaware Governor John Carney issued a second modification to his March 12, 2020 state of emergency declaration. The modification included a temporary lift on certain state telehealth restrictions. These changes will help Delaware providers and patients in need of medical services. Governor Carney’s second declaration follows an action by the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to relax telehealth opportunities for Medicare beneficiaries and the federal HHS Office for Civil Rights to waive certain HIPAA requirements for telemedicine.

Pursuant to Delaware’s modified declaration:

  • Patients are no longer required to see a healthcare provider in-person before they can receive telehealth services.  This means patients can receive treatment from a healthcare provider for the first time using telecommunication methods;
  • Delaware residents are no longer required to be physically present in Delaware when telehealth services are provided.  This means students and employees who reside in Delaware, but who—as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic—are currently located outside the state, can use telecommunication methods to receive treatment by healthcare professionals in Delaware; and
  • Out-of-state healthcare providers who would be permitted to provide telehealth services under Delaware law if they were licensed in Delaware may provide telehealth services to Delaware residents if they hold an active license in another state.

In the wake of the COVID-19 crisis and resultant need for social isolation, telehealth services can be a great resource for providers, patients, school students and Delaware residents.  Please feel free to contact the authors if you have questions about these modifications and how they can impact your access to telehealth services and the delivery of telehealth services.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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