The news: The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has extended the public COVID-19 emergency through October 13 of this year.
How we got here: Earlier this year, many US adults said that COVID-19 is no longer a crisis —but climbing cases could change that perception.
Only 9% of US consumers agreed that COVID-19 was a “serious crisis,” per an April Axios/Ipsos survey of over 1,000 US adults. But it’s possible more US adults could once again start perceiving COVID-19 as a major problem as the gov’t extends the public health emergency and a new COVID-19 variant spreads.
The HHS’s extension provides a silver lining for telehealth physicians: It will continue some pandemic-era policies (like the ability to conduct virtual visits in different states).
For context, some states like Illinois and Michigan have already rescinded their temporary regulations that let out-of-state providers conduct telehealth visits in their state without a special license, per the Federation of State Medical Board’s tracking.
Zooming out: Investors are placing bets on startups easing the interstate physician licensing process—likely because there’s no guarantee the public health emergency will extend yet again.
For example, in late June, physician licensing platform Medallion scored $35 million from investors like UnitedHealth Group’s VC arm, Optum Ventures.