On April 2, 2024, Beyond the Pill researcher Dr. Jennifer Yarger presented testimony in support of Assembly Bill 2339, a California State Assembly bill improving telehealth access for California Medical Assistance Program (Medi-Cal) recipients.

The bill, presented by Representative Cecilia Aguilar-Curry, expands the scope of asynchronous telehealth interactions permitted under Medi-Cal. Asynchronous telehealth refers to telehealth interactions that occur via an app or private messaging system without the need for a live phone or video connection.

In support of the bill, Dr. Yarger presented research findings from a recent survey among young adults revealing the barriers they face in accessing care via phone and video. She noted that despite its advantages for young people in improving privacy and access, especially for reproductive health services, almost 25% of those surveyed “said it would be difficult to use phone or video visits for contraceptive services.” Additionally, food and housing insecure young adults had greater difficulty using these services. Asynchronous telehealth can ensure access to care for these patients, as well as other vulnerable populations.

The bill was favorably received and passed in the Committee on Health and is currently under review in the Committee on Appropriations.

Watch Dr. Yarger’s full testimony.