HELENA, Mont. — When the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation began offering telehealth services in Montana in early February, the nation’s largest nonprofit addiction treatment provider promised quality care for far-flung residents without their even having to leave home.
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That promise was what Montana and more than 40 other states had in mind when they temporarily relaxed rules restricting telehealth services and allowed out-of-state providers to hold remote patient visits for the duration of the covid-19 pandemic.
A year into the pandemic, telehealth has become widely accepted. Some states are now looking to make permanent the measures that have fueled its growth. But with it have come some unintended consequences, such as a rise in fraud, potential access problems for vulnerable groups and conflicts between out-of-state and in-state health providers.
In Montana, for example, not everybody cheered the virtual … Read the rest