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Introduction to Policy Exploration Series

Hello all! My name is Josef Bogard. I'm a student of sociology and psychology with an emphasis on demography and lifespan development at Grand Valley and serve as our designated 'Sociology Intern'. To help with our mission, particularly the emerging political dimension of it, I've elected to write a series of reports on various policies relating to telemedicine, insurance, mental health and social work. Most of them will be reports about recent introductions to the House and Senate as well as the legislatures of states we operate in, and some will explore existing state and federal laws relevant to our work I feel should be salient to us. Deciphering legalese can be difficult and time-consuming, and most of us, especially our clinicians, don't have the time to go out of our way to find up-and-coming policies that specifically impact us. Thus, I'm here and happy to do it for those of us who don't have the time and those of us who are just curious by doing my best to condense relevant legislation into a digestible series of reports. It is my hope we can also branch from examinations like these to advocacy and even lobbying for policies we feel are beneficial to our clients and our mission, especially ahead of what will likely be rapid and large-scale debate over suspension, maintenance, and introduction of telehealth law as the COVID-19 pandemic deescalates.

Each blog will be broken down like a standard policy report, opening with a basic overview of the policy in question and then highlighting the beneficiaries, targets, instruments, and outcomes. Each will conclude with a more inferential examination of any direct and indirect impacts on us specifically, as well as speculation on my part. Typically the works cited will simply include respective congressional websites (namely congress.gov or a state equivalent,) but any additional sources will be included at the end or cited in-text as needed. I sincerely hope this series proves to be informative and helpful in navigating the policy side of our work!

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