Malpractice Claims Among Rural and Urban Providers: Do State Telehealth Laws Make a Difference?

Research center:
Project funded:
September 2017
Anticipated completion date:
March 2020

Telehealth technologies allow individuals in rural communities to gain access to healthcare providers and specialists in otherwise distant markets. Similar to telehealth, advance practice nurses have the potential to increase access to healthcare services in underserved areas because they are capable of providing many healthcare services (e.g., primary care) in areas that do not have available primary care physicians. Since advance practice nurses and telehealth are both strategies to promote healthcare access, states looking to improve healthcare access might promote both with permissive laws. Accordingly, we hypothesize that the permissiveness of telehealth laws will be associated with the permissiveness of advanced practice nurse scope of practice laws in the same jurisdictions. We anticipate that predominately rural states are more likely than more urban states to have permissive telehealth laws. This project examines the impact of state telehealth laws on the rate of adverse actions reported to the National Practitioner Data Bank and whether adverse events are disproportionately affecting providers in states that are legally supportive of telehealth.