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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…

Notification of Enforcement Discretion for Telehealth Remote Communications During the COVID-19 Nationwide Public Health Emergency

We are empowering medical providers to serve patients wherever they are during this national public health emergency. We are especially concerned about reaching those most at risk, including older persons and persons with disabilities. – Roger Severino, OCR Director.

The Office for Civil Rights (OCR) at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is responsible for enforcing certain regulations issued under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA), as amended by the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act, to protect the privacy and security of protected…

Telehealth, telemedicine here to stay, says expert

One of the obvious outcomes of the COVID-19 pandemic is that telemedicine and telehealth will no longer be a wave of the future. They’re here and here to stay.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson loosened regulations on the use of telehealth due to the coronavirus outbreak that had previously limited the ability of doctors, nurses and patients to see one another in person to start a relationship. In an executive order issued in late March, Hutchinson suspended the rules that require a face-to-face meeting to establish a physician-patient relationship.

Arkansas has been one…

CARES Act Funding and Support for Telehealth

As part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, Congress appropriated significant funding for a number of telehealth programs and initiatives, including funding for programs administered by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the Department of Agriculture’s Rural Utility Service (RUS), the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and the Indian Health Service.1 In addition, the CARES Act authorizes HHS to take a number of steps to make telehealth services more readily available nationally. This advisory focuses in-depth on the funding allocated to the FCC and surveys the other telehealth…

Commercial Payors and Medicaid Telehealth Billing

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (“CMS”) and the Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) have enacted several measures to make it easier for Medicare beneficiaries to obtain telehealth services during the public health emergency caused by the coronavirus and the disease caused by it, COVID-19. Specifically, CMS and HHS have issued Section 1135 Waivers for Telehealth Services and other guidance to allow providers to treat Medicare beneficiaries using telehealth.

Many state Medicaid programs and commercial payors have likewise made changes to expand the telehealth services offered to their beneficiaries and increase…

COVID-19 Spurs Government Action Through Multiple Temporary Regulatory Waivers for Health Care Providers

On March 30, 2020 the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (“CMS”) issued multiple temporary regulatory waivers and new rules in an effort to provide the American healthcare system with maximum flexibility as it reacts and responds to the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. These are obviously unprecedented times, and CMS has made great use of President Trump’s recent emergency declaration and emergency rule making authorization, as well as Secretary Azar’s public health emergency declaration.

According to CMS, its temporary regulatory waivers meet five goals, which are summarized below.

(1) “to…

Alert: FCC Adopts Order Setting Rules for COVID-19 Telehealth Funding

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has released an order implementing the CARES Act appropriation of $200 million for telehealth through a new program called the COVID-19 Telehealth Program and adopting a new Connected Care Pilot Program. The Connected Care Pilot Program will make an additional $100 million in federal universal service funds available for telehealth over the next three years.

Both programs will make funding available across the country, in urban and rural areas. The funding windows for both programs are likely to be very tight, and all applicants must satisfy a…

HHS will cover all in-center dialysis visits via telehealth, telephone consults during COVID-19 pandemic

HHS released an updated interim final rule on March 30 that will reimburse nephrologists and physician practice staff for all telehealth visits for patients in dialysis clinics and at home. Visits with patients via telephone are also now reimbursed, with payment based on the length of the call.

“Most pertinent for nephrology, the IFR clarifies that all physician and practitioner activities associated with the ESRD MCP outpatient dialysis services can be provided via telehealth,” the Renal Physicians Association told its members in a guidance letter about the rule. “Subsequent to the…

About Telehealth

Store and Forward

Store-and-forward telemedicine is collecting clinical information and sending it electronically to another site for evaluation. Information typically includes demographic data, medical history, documents such as laboratory reports, and image, video and/or sound files.

The health professional may use a desktop computer or a mobile device, such as a smartphone to gather and send the information. Information is transmitted by electronic mail, uploaded to a secure website, or uses a private network.

Benefits of store-and forward consultations include:

  • the patient, GP and…

Telehealth takes off during pandemic

Heights resident Dr. Diane N. Roche, a licensed psychologist and clinical director at Roche + Associates, said her practice already had a protected online platform which in addition to managing medical records and appointment scheduling, offered secure video therapy sessions.

But the video component was not often used.

“For a handful of young adults, that was their preference,” Roche said.

With the social distancing mandated by government officials on account of the COVID-19 pandemic, however, telehealth technology is the only way that Roche + Associates is currently offering…

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