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Taskforce on Telehealth Policy releases final report on safeguarding virtual care

Its recommendations include lifting limitations on originating sites, allowing telehealth for various types of conditions and reinstating the HIPAA provisions temporarily lifted during the public health emergency.

By Kat Jercich September 15, 202002:01 PM

The Taskforce on Telehealth Policy released a final report on Tuesday outlining its findings and recommendations around safeguarding the future of telehealth after the COVID-19 pandemic.

The task force, which was convened by the National Committee for Quality Assurance, the Alliance for Connected Care and the American Telemedicine Association, represented a broad…

Taskforce on Telehealth Policy Issues Final Report

Remote healthcare recommendations set guidelines for policymakers

Twenty-three of the nation’s leading healthcare experts released their much-anticipated final report on Tuesday, September 15, identifying challenges and opportunities for telehealth in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Taskforce on Telehealth Policy, convened by the National Committee for Quality Assurance, the Alliance for Connected Care, and the American Telemedicine Association, spent the summer building consensus among its members on a comprehensive set of findings and recommendations.

Taskforce members – representing a broad spectrum of health plans, providers, consumer advocates and health quality…

Updated COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions Released by the CMS

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

On August 26, 2020, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) released an updated Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) guide for questions related to COVID-19 and the public health emergency (PHE). The guide supplements the previously released FAQ guidance pertaining to 1135 Waivers under COVID-19.  The new guide includes additional details from COVID-19 legislation, emergency rules, and waivers.  The policies included in the FAQ are effective for the duration of the PHE unless superseded by future legislation. 

The FAQs address provisions from the Coronavirus Aid,…

A Toolkit for Building and Growing a Sustainable Telehealth Program for Your Practice

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, telehealth technology had been incrementally changing the practice of family medicine in the United States. In March 2020, only 13% of American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) members had provided video or telephone visits to their patients. By May 2020, 94% of members were regularly doing so, aided by sweeping temporary policy changes that brought down many of the regulatory and reimbursement barriers that had inhibited the growth of telehealth for years.

For family medicine practices, the COVID-19 pandemic laid bare the inadequacy of fee-for-service (FFS) payment. However, the…

Telehealth Providers May Get a Financial Boost Under the FCC’s Connected Care Pilot Program

The FCC’s Connected Care Pilot Program is poised to defray eligible health care providers’ costs of providing certain telehealth services. On September 3, 2020, the FCC issued additional information and guidance for potential applicants.

On April 2, 2020, the FCC adopted final rules to establish the Connected Care Pilot Program with the intent of helping defray the cost of providing certain telehealth services. The Connected Care Pilot Program will provide up to $100 million from the Universal Service Fund over a three-year period to support the provision of connected care services, with an emphasis on…

Medicare Shared Savings Program Saved a Record $1.19B in 2019

CMS also reported that ACOs in the Medicare Shared Savings Program saved more under new Pathway to Success tracks and if they assumed downside risk.

By Jacqueline LaPointe

September 15, 2020 – Medicare Shared Savings Program (MSSP) generated $1.19 billion in total net savings to Medicare in 2019, representing the third consecutive year for net program savings and the largest annual savings for the program to date, CMS Administrator Seema Verma recently reported.

In a Health Affairs blog post yesterday, Administrator Verma shared the results from the MSSP’s 2019 performance year. It…

A timeline of telehealth support from the federal government during the pandemic

Katie Adams

The White House, CMS and other federal agencies have been issuing new policies and grants to expand telehealth access and use during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Below is a list of updated policies, grants and other actions taken to support telehealth in response to COVID-19.

March 6: President Donald Trump signed an $8.3 billion emergency funding bill in response to the coronavirus outbreak, including $500 million in waivers for Medicare telehealth restrictions. The benefits expanded telehealth coverage to all Medicare beneficiaries regardless of location. CMS previously…

Letter: Telehealth would be even handier under Medicare for All

The Saturday letter “Telehealth will be valuable even after pandemic ends” from David Stukus made a good case for online visits with medical providers as the pandemic continues and ends. I’ve had a couple of those with my own doctors.

One large limitation, however, is that you can’t do blood work online. Doctors often need this for diagnosis and treatment, and tests are a part of a doctor visit.

Telehealth is also accessible only to those who have some form of effective insurance, which now 100 million Americans do not….

Telehealth trends and how to build a long-term strategy in response to the industry shift

By Heather Spillman  Sep 15, 2020

Telehealth is not a new concept for the health care industry. Prior to Covid-19, the provision of health care services via telehealth varied dramatically across providers, with significant differences based on the organization’s size, type, specialty, and even the market.

Virtually overnight, Covid-19 changed telehealth from a “nice-to-have” capability to a strategic imperative, enabling health care organizations to provide vital services to patients in a safe and effective way, while also recouping some of the volume losses that threatened to decimate parts of the industry. Providers…

Providers Plan a Post-Pandemic Future With Telehealth Strategies

They’ve tried the technology and tested the workloads. Now that telehealth is here to stay, providers are looking closely at what telehealth strategies do and not work for them.

September 14, 2020 – With the onset of the coronavirus pandemic in March, healthcare providers across the country launched or expanded telehealth platforms with the goal of moving as much care as possible into the virtual realm. 

Half a year later, the pendulum is swinging back in the other direction, with access to in-person care on the rise and telehealth visits declining. But while…

Why Telehealth Coverage Mandates Can’t Reverse Course

The implications of pulling back access to virtual care now would be nothing less than significant.

The broad mandates that expanded telehealth coverage for Medicare and Medicaid recipients due to the COVID-19 pandemic are proving their worth.

Many patients who typically didn’t have ready (or sometimes any) access to this type of coverage are now being reached. And many private health plans have adjusted their models to encompass virtual care during the ongoing public health crisis.

But as health policy lawyer Kristi V. Kung recently pointed…

CMS Proposes Significant Changes to Remote Patient Monitoring Coverage

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has clarified how providers can use telehealth and mHealth to establish and run remote patient monitoring programs, with changes that some feel could hinder care at home.

The federal government is clarifying how it regulates remote patient monitoring, with changes that could significantly affect – and potentially restrict – how care providers use telehealth and mHealth to care for patients at home.

The changes come from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, and were part of CMS’ proposed 2021 Physician Fee Schedule, released…

Maintaining Momentum in Patient Engagement Technology Adoption

COVID-19 sparked historic patient engagement technology adoption, but healthcare will need to lean on provider testimony to keep these gains.

If healthcare wants to keep up the gains in patient engagement technology adoption it saw at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s going to need to tap the providers that patients trust, according to a new report from Accenture.

Healthcare will also need to be transparent about how different entities use patient data and provide a seamless experience from in-person to digital care, the report found.

This comes…

HHS, FCC and USDA launch joint rural telehealth initiative: 3 details

HHS, FCC and USDA on Sept. 1 signed a memorandum of understanding to collaborate on efforts to improve telehealth services and address health disparities in rural areas.

The Rural Telehealth Initiative ultimately aims to use telehealth to supplement gaps in the healthcare system for rural Americans, who have been impacted by hospital closures and lack of specialty care.

Three details:

1. The Rural Telehealth Initiative stems from President Donald Trump’s Aug. 3 executive order to improve rural health and telehealth access by making certain…

Medicare Telehealth Coverage and Reimbursement After the Public Health Emergency

Over the past five months, Congress and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) have dramatically, but temporarily, expanded coverage and reimbursement for telehealth services in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The changes are in effect for the duration of the Health and Human Services (HHS) Public Health Emergency (PHE). As there are significant statutory restrictions on how telehealth services can be delivered and paid for in Medicare, to enact these flexibilities, CMS relied on its 1135 waiver authority, which allows HHS to waive or modify certain Medicare requirements during a federally declared emergency. Principal changes…

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