Telehealth & COVID-19

Latest Updates & Resources

COVID-19 Telehealth Policy Resources to Know About

With telehealth policy changing rapidly during the COVID-19 emergency, the Center for Connected Health Policy (CCHP) and the National Consortium of Telehealth Resource Centers (NCTRCs) have worked to develop some important resources to help guide providers and telehealth stakeholders through the swiftly changing landscape. 

Below are some resources that can be utilized, and are updated regularly:

CMS Gives Doctors More Telehealth Flexibility, Postpones ET3 Launch

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The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services is relaxing the telehealth rules again so that providers can practice at the top of their license; the agency is also postponing its new mHealth program for EMS providers to the fall.

April 13, 2020 – The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services is suspending more regulations tied to telehealth during the Coromavirus pandemic, giving healthcare providers more freedom to use connected health services to treat patients remotely.

In a separate announcement, CMS postponed the launch of an…

A Blueprint for Telehealth Success for Skilled Nursing Facilities

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SNFs are turning to telehealth to improve clinical and operational outcomes, particularly in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, but successful adoption requires an attention to details.

April 13, 2020 – With a high-risk patient population and razor-thin business margins, skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) have been adopting telehealth platforms to reduce costly rehospitalizations and improve clinical outcomes and staff morale. And with the nation in the grip of the COVID-19 outbreak, the number of SNFs turning to connected health has soared. 

But it’s not as…

FCC Begins Virus Telehealth Push as Eligibility Questions Linger

Health providers can apply starting Monday for $200 million in telehealth funds to fight the coronavirus pandemic, even as they fault eligibility restrictions and wrestle to apply regulations for using the aid.

The eligibility and regulatory questions highlight the challenges the government faces in quickly distributing aid intended to fund broadband-connected devices such as video apps that allow long-distance consultations and pulse oximeters that measure blood oxygen levels.

The Federal Communications Commission has said it will distribute the $200 million on a rolling basis with no single project likely to receive…

5 things hospitals must know about applying to FCC’s $200M telehealth program

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The FCC will open its application portal today to hospitals interested in applying to its $200 million COVID-19 telehealth program. 

The program is part of the $2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, which President Donald Trump signed into law March 27. Under the program, hospitals and health centers can apply for up to $1 million to cover costs for internet-connected monitoring devices, broadband connectivity and telecommunication services. 

Eligible organizations include medical schools and academic teaching hospitals, nonprofit hospitals, rural health…

AMA offers further guidance for telehealth rollouts

Its updated Digital Health Implementation Playbook Series offers tips and best practices for making the most of virtual consult technologies.

The American Medical Association has put together a new guide to help providers implement real-time virtual visits between clinicians and patients.

The 128-page update to AMA’s Digital Health Implementation Playbook Series comes as telehealth adoption is increasing by leaps amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Use of virtual care technologies had already doubled between 2016 to 2019, and since…

‘No Strings Attached’: CMS Sending $30 Billion to Home Health Agencies, Other Medicare Providers

If home health and hospice providers discover an unexpected Medicare payment from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) later this week, they shouldn’t be too alarmed — it’s not a billing error.

The surprise deposit isn’t a mistake, but rather a no-strings-attached bump to help maintain operational stability amid coronavirus disruption. CMS Administrator Seema Verma highlighted her agency’s plans to float all Medicare providers an immediate financial lifesaver during a White House coronavirus task-force briefing on April 7.

“This week, we will be putting out another $30 billion …

CMS Releases Allocation Details, Conditions of Participation for Emergency Payments to Home Health Providers

Home health and hospice providers now have greater clarity on how much initial emergency assistance they’ll be getting from the CARES Act Provider Relief Fund, as well as when those direct deposits will hit their bank accounts.

While details of the disbursements were originally scarce, it seems the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) started doling out payments to Medicare-reimbursed providers as of Friday, April 10.

The goal is to divide $30 billion in grant funding up between all program participants to help them maintain stability amid COVID-19. The money comes…

CMS eases restrictions for physicians in long-term care facilities

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has eased a number of service restrictions on physicians who provide care for residents in skilled nursing and long-term care facilities.

The changes join a growing list of so-called “blanket waivers” temporarily granted to healthcare providers and institutions during the COVID-19 crisis. The physician waivers specifically address staff shortages in facilities caring for patients with the coronavirus.

Among the measures:

  • Physicians are not required to perform in-person visits for nursing facility residents and may instead conduct visits via telehealth options as…
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