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

Research center:
Project funded:
September 2017
Project completed:
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.


  • The Development of Telehealth Laws in the U.S. from 2008 to 2015: A Legal Landscape
    Policy Brief
    Southwest Rural Health Research Center
    Date: 11/2019
    This study examines the scope and evolving nature of telehealth statutes and regulations in the U.S. Our research aims to understand changes in telehealth laws over time (2008-2015), variations in legal frameworks established across the U.S., and the extent that state laws regulate the primary care delivery through the use of telehealth.