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Virtual health care visits extended until 2022

Physicians and regulated health professionals can now offer telephone and videoconferencing appointments until March 31, 2022
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Nova Scotians will be able to continue booking telephone and videoconferencing appointments with health care professionals for the next year.

The province announced Tuesday it would continue to allow physicians and regulated health professionals to complement in-person care with virtual appointments until March 31, 2022. 

The government implemented the measure in 2020 temporarily during the COVID-19 shutdown and more than 1.5 million health-care services were provided virtually thoughout last year.

"Virtual care has been an important way for doctors and other health professionals to safely and effectively meet Nova Scotians' health-care needs during the pandemic," said Health and Wellness Minister Zach Churchill in a news release. 

"Continuing virtual care will ensure patients can continue to access a range of health services, while maintaining this option for practitioners."

Regulated health professionals who can provide publicly-funded virtual services include audiologists, counselling therapists, dental hygienists, dentists, dietitians, licensed practical nurses, midwives, nurse practitioners, occupational therapists, optometrists, paramedics, pharmacists, physicians, physiotherapists, psychologists, recreation therapists, registered nurses, respiratory therapists, speech-language pathologists and social workers.

The province has identified primary health care, mental health and addictions, and perioperative services as priority areas to expand when it comes to access.

It plans to do an evaluation to come up with a permanent long-term approach to virtual health care before next spring.

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