Thus far, most Missourians have experienced the coronavirus epidemic as a shutting down—schools are closed, many businesses are shuttered as employees work from home, and sports stadiums and concert venues are deserted.
But while the emotional and economic costs of social distancing are necessary during the current crisis, it is just as urgent that our state’s health care policies move in the opposite direction—toward more openness and accessibility. If legal and bureaucratic obstacles to care have been harmful in the past (and they have), they will be catastrophic in the coming months.
Policies that have made it harder for doctors from other states to work here, harder for patients to take advantage of telemedicine, and harder for health care providers to open new facilities have been harming Missourians for years. As this report explains, addressing these problems now will not only help us minimize suffering during the current epidemic, but will maximize the availability of health care in the future.
Note: Between the formal release of our five reform proposals last week and the release of this brief, the Governor issued temporary waivers granting interstate licensing reciprocity for physicians, allowing those physicians to provide telehealth services, and allowing advanced practice registered nurses to practice beyond the 75 mile radius from their collaborating physician, as currently required under the law. These are important advancements that, as we argue in the brief, should be made permanent.
Click on the link below to read the full report.