NORD Telehealth Principles

All patients should have equal and effective access to telehealth services.

  • Section 1834(m) of the Social Security Act should be permanently waived/modified to enable telehealth access for Medicare patients who are not located in rural areas.
  • Clear pathways for state licensure should be established to enable patients to be seen by their in-state and out-of-state providers via telehealth.
  • Federal and state governments should provide resources to support information technology infrastructure improvements where they are needed to ensure patients in both rural and urban areas benefit from telehealth services.
  • Audio only telehealth coverage and adequate reimbursement should be permitted.

Patients and their providers should be able to make a choice on the location and type of care they receive that is based on what is in the best interests of the patient. Patient choice must be preserved; patients should not be pushed to or away from telehealth by their health plans or providers.

  • Provider reimbursement must be structured in a way that doesn’t make telehealth more or less appealing than in-person visits for providers.
  • Patient cost-sharing for services provided via telehealth shouldn’t result in higher out of pocket costs for patients.
  • Utilization management tools should not be used by health plan payers to push providers or patients towards a particular care setting.

Transparency around privacy protections and cost sharing must be established and preserved.

  • Patients should be confident that the technologies they are using for the telehealth visit are HIPAA compliant and/or FDA approved or cleared.
  • Patients should be made aware of the cost-sharing associated with their telehealth visit.

Data should drive decisions on telehealth.

  • Federal and state governments should collect and analyze data regarding the impact of telehealth on utilization, quality, health outcomes and spending during the COVID-19 pandemic and after the pandemic abates to ensure:
    • High quality care is provided;
    • Positive health outcomes are achieved; and
    • Fraud is prevented.


Read more on why and how NORD developed these principles and ways in which they will be put to use.