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The Role of Whole Person Care in Population Health, Telehealth

Whole person care is considered critical to payer strategies, but how can payers ensure it remains central to evolving population health and telehealth strategies?

By Kelsey Waddill

November 02, 2020 – As the healthcare environment faces major changes, payers may face challenges in maintaining their focus on whole person care across all strategies.

Given the influence of the pandemic, payers may need to pay close attention to the role that whole person care plays in their population health and telehealth strategies.

“Whole person health…

Beyond Telehealth: Bringing Care to Patients’ Homes

COVID-19 has created a telehealth boom, and it’s fantastic. The pandemic has pushed telehealth forward at least 10 years — no small feat, given healthcare lags about 10 years behind other industries in digital innovation. But, as is often the case with U.S. healthcare, we’re over-relying on the latest trend and ignoring the fact that it’s only a part of the bigger picture. By touting telehealth as the panacea for our healthcare woes, we’re leaving huge gaps in providing care.

Our systems are designed from a place…

Mahmood Kazemi: A remote revolution in diabetes care

The telehealth revolution has arrived, faster than even its most ardent proponents anticipated. Virtual doctor visits are on track to top 1 billion by the end of this year. That would be 30 times the figure from just three years ago.

People with diabetes have been among the most enthusiastic adopters of remote care. At the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center’s endocrinology department, telehealth visits for diabetes patients increased from eight per week pre-pandemic to 500 a week afterward. Virtual visits at the Cleveland Clinic’s Endocrinology and Metabolism Institute spiked 1,000% over…

CMS finalizes home health payment rule for 2021: 4 takeaways

CMS finalized 2021 payment updates for home health agencies Oct. 29.

Four takeaways on the changes, which are effective Jan. 1:

1. CMS will increase payments to home health agencies by about 1.9 percent, or $390 million, for 2021.

2. CMS also finalized home infusion therapy rates for 2021. The rates will result in a 0.7 percent decrease in payments to home infusion therapy suppliers, or $384,800.

3. The rule finalizes a 5 percent cap on wage decreases in 2021. 

4. Under…

Ontario Invests in Telehealth to Give Seniors Access to Care at Home

The Canadian province is launching a community paramedicine program in five communities, which will use local paramedics and a telehealth platform to connect with seniors on long-term care waiting lists.

By Eric Wicklund

November 02, 2020 – Ontario’s government is investing roughly $5 million in a telehealth program aimed at bringing healthcare into the home for seniors on waiting lists for long-term care.

The Community Paramedicine for Long-Term Care program is being launched on a pilot basis in five communities across the Canadian province. The program will…

Virus delivers gains for home healthcare

Consumers are warming to the idea of home healthcare providers to get complex procedures and diagnostics done without having to step out—even beyond the pandemic.

Though covid gave tailwinds to home health diagnostics, the industry is expected to continue growing at 15-19% a year to touch $13 billion by 2025 from $5.4 billion currently, according to Redseer Consulting.

In spite of a rising number of home healthcare startups such as Portea Medical, Care24, HealthCare at HOME (HCAH), Tribeca Care and hospital chain-led homecare services Apollo Homecare and Max@Home, only…

Using COVID-19 as a launching point for tech innovation

2020 has been a challenging year for health care leaders across the globe as communities have been forced to grapple with the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic. However, this health care crisis has presented an opportunity to ignite tremendous transformation, especially in the technology space. At MVP Health Care, we have seen five to six years of innovation and implementation in just a few months—mainly with COVID-19 as the catalyst. 

As a leading health insurer in New York and Vermont, we have learned to stop solving today’s problems with yesterday’s solutions. Technology,…

How the Coronavirus Pandemic Impacted Medicare Home Healthcare

Medicare home healthcare has been pivotal during the coronavirus pandemic, but it still needs to undergo changes to fully meet beneficiaries’ needs.

By Kelsey Waddill

October 30, 2020 – While the coronavirus pandemic has forced positive change elsewhere in the healthcare industry, Medicare home healthcare policies still have room to improve, a Commonwealth Fund study discovered.

As the healthcare industry has had to adapt to the coronavirus, certain modes of care have seen greater use than they did prior to the pandemic. The Medicare program has particularly relied…

Responding to COVID-19 in an Uninsured Hispanic/Latino Community: Testing, Education and Telehealth at a Free Clinic in Providence

The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the effects of existing health disparities throughout the United States. While Hispanic/Latino individuals account for only 16% of the Rhode Island (RI) population, Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) data show that 45% of COVID-19 cases and 36% of individuals who have been hospitalized identify as Hispanic/Latino. Clínica Esperanza/Hope Clinic (CEHC) mobilized a comprehensive effort to offer telehealth visits, health education and accessible, walk-up COVID-19 testing for low-income, uninsured and Spanish-speaking individuals living in Rhode Island. With support from CEHC volunteers, the City of Providence, the State of Rhode Island,…

Evaluation and Management – Looking Beyond COVID-19

Now that the initial wave of COVID-19 has passed and providers have mastered the telehealth billing requirements, it is time to turn attention to the 2021 Evaluation and Management (E&M) changes and their impact on a provider’s practice. Much of what was learned during the Public Health Emergency (PHE) will aid physicians as they transition to the “new” E&M requirements. However, there are still significant changes on the horizon that require attention for a practice to function efficiently and compliantly.

Bill would bolster telehealth services

A bipartisan contingent of lawmakers has introduced the Home Health Emergency Access to Telehealth (HEAT) Act, a bill that would provide Medicare reimbursements for audio and video telehealth services furnished by home health agencies during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“I know firsthand the benefits of home healthcare,” said U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell (D-AL), who was joined by Reps. Roger Marshall (R-KS), Jodey Arrington (R-TX) and Mike Thompson, (D-CA). The bill was carried in the Senate by Sens. Susan Collins (R-ME), and Ben Cardin (D-MD).

“When my dad was left wheelchair-bound after…

CMS Finalizes 1.9% Home Health Rate Increase for 2021, Keeps PDGM’s Behavioral Adjustment

The U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued its final 2021 home health payment rule Thursday.

In doing so, it changed very little from what it first proposed in June.

The final rule adds an estimated $390 million home health payment boost for agencies in 2021, or an aggregate increase of 1.9%. That estimate is less than the $540 million boost and 2.6% increase originally outlined in CMS’s proposed rule.

The increase reflects the effects of the 2% home health payment update percentage and…

CMS Finalizes Calendar Year 2021 Payment and Policy Changes for Home Health Agencies and Calendar Year 2021 Home Infusion Therapy Benefit

Today, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a final rule that finalizes routine updates to the home health payment rates for calendar year (CY) 2021, in accordance with existing statutory and regulatory requirements. This rule also finalizes the regulatory changes related to the use of telecommunications technology in providing care under the Medicare home health benefit.

This rule adopts the revised Office of Management and Budget (OMB) statistical area delineations as described in OMB Bulletin 18-04, and finalizes a 5 percent cap on wage index decreases in CY…

Why Home Healthcare Needs More Technology and Training

An expansion of intuitive tools and internet connectivity are among key efforts to sustain remote care during the pandemic — and beyond.

by Jessica Longly

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought the home healthcare industry to a crossroads.

More older adults are comfortable with mobile devices and smart technologies that help them safely age in place. Some individuals may be seeking to avoid full-time care in a congregate care setting due to the public health emergency. And telehealth use has surged, thanks to temporary expanded coverage for…

Value-Based Care Requires a Balance of Telehealth, In-Person Visits

In a new Healthcare Strategies podcast, Chris Waugh, chief innovation officer at Sutter Health, explains how the health system is creating a strategy that integrates virtual and in-person care to treat the whole patient.

By Eric Wicklund

October 29, 2020 – Health systems looking for the right balance between telehealth and in-person care shouldn’t think of one service as a replacement for the other. Rather, they should be complementary.

That’s the strategy being used at Sutter Health. And Chris Waugh, chief innovation officer at the California-based 24-hospital…

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