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…

CMS Proposes Telehealth Updates to the 2021 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule

On August 3, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released its proposed Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (MPFS) updates for the 2021 calendar year, addressing among other policy changes how CMS will treat telehealth codes for the duration of and following the COVID-19 public health emergency (PHE).

Background: CMS’ Process for Reviewing New Telehealth Codes

CMS permits any interested party to submit a request to add services to the list of codes covered by Medicare when furnished via remote practice. CMS reviews these requests to determine whether the…

Telehealth and Medicaid Expansion during COVID

This article will explore Medicaid expansion during COVID-19. We all know that COVID has uprooted our lives. Telehealth is the new post-COVID norm, whereas it was in infancy pre-COVID. Perhaps the pandemic has spurred on Medicaid expansion as well.

I would be remiss if I did not mention that increased practice of telehealth and Medicaid expansion also increases the likelihood for Recovery Audit Contractor (RAC) and Medicare Administrative Contractor (MAC) audits. Everyone has more patients, and more ways to serve those patients, which is great.

COVID has made telehealth an overnight…

Mayo Clinic’s Halamka: Telehealth boom slowing, but don’t expect it to go back to pre-COVID rates

The rapid adoption of virtual care during the COVID-19 pandemic may be winding down compared to levels it reached early in the COVID-19 pandemic.

But that shift marked a “sea change” in healthcare that will have a long-term impact on how care is delivered, said Mayo Clinic health IT leader John Halamka.

“Organizations were at 5% telehealth visits and that went up to 95% and now it’s down to 25%. Organizations went from 5% to 25% in six months,” said Halamka, president of Mayo Clinic Platform, speaking during a virtual…

7 Steps to Open the Healthcare Digital Front Door, Care Access

COVID-19 accelerated adoption of a digital front door, introducing virtual care access at scale. How can organizations utilize that door after the pandemic wanes?

Healthcare organizations looking to unlock the digital front door in healthcare should build up their health IT infrastructure, consider a patient-centered approach, and factor in the impact virtual care will have on clinical workflows, according to a new report from Wolters Kluwer.

The first in a five-part series outlining the post COVID-19 future of healthcare, the report looked at the impact virtual care access and telehealth has had…

Why EHR Interoperability is Critical for Telehealth

Telehealth has recently taken off as a way to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus, but even though telehealth has been around for several years, clinics had difficulty adopting it pre-COVID-19. This caused clinics to not view telehealth as a viable option, and it was often seen as a last resort approach to healthcare. 

As reducing the spread of COVID-19 became paramount, Medicare and Medicaid were forced to develop telehealth service codes, and clinics were tasked with finding an immediate virtual solution.  Telehealth has gained so much momentum so quickly that Grandview Research is…

FAQs on Telehealth and HIPAA during the COVID-19 nationwide public health emergency

  1. What is telehealth?
    The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S.
    Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) defines telehealth as the use of electronic information and telecommunications technologies to support and promote long-distance clinical health care, patient and
    professional health-related education, and public health and health
    administration. Technologies include videoconferencing, the internet, storeand-forward imaging, streaming media, and landline and wireless
    communications. Telehealth services may be provided, for example, through audio, text messaging, or video communication technology, including videoconferencing software. For purposes of reimbursement, certain payors, including Medicare and Medicaid, may impose restrictions on the types of technologies that…

HHS partners with FCC and USDA on rural telehealth initiative

Telehealth plays an increasingly critical part in treating patients, improving health outcomes and lowering costs.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Federal Communications Commission and the U.S. Department of Agriculture to work together on the Rural Telehealth Initiative, a joint effort to collaborate and share information to address health disparities, resolve service-provider challenges, and promote broadband services and technology to rural areas in America.

The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has highlighted the critical importance of telehealth in delivering…

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