As the COVID-19 pandemic lingers on, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed an executive order (EO) extending a prior EO that expanded access to telehealth services statewide.
In a press release, Gov. Newsom’s office said EO N-16-21 extends the provisions of a prior order, EO N-43-20, that facilitates telehealth services by enabling medical providers to conduct routine and non-emergency medical appointments through telehealth without the risk of being penalized. Under the previous EO, the state relaxed certain state privacy and security laws for medical providers. Originally, those provisions were set to expire at the end of September.
The new EO doesn’t give a specific expiration date, rather it says the provisions will remain in full force and effect until the State of Emergency proclamation – issued on March 4, 2020 – is terminated, or Executive Order N-43-20 is modified or rescinded, whichever occurs first.
In the EO, Gov. Newsom said that “surges in COVID-19 cases in some regions have caused increased wait times for health care services, and seasonal influenza is likely to increase further the usage of healthcare facilities across the state,” and that those conditions make it “necessary to continue to facilitate the use of telehealth services, where appropriate, to minimize the threat of COVID-19 to Californians and healthcare workers alike, to expedite access to healthcare services, and to reduce strain on the healthcare delivery system.”