While providers struggle to provide health care to their patients amid the coronavirus contagion concerns, recent regulatory and reimbursement changes will help ease the path to the provision of healthcare via telehealth.
On March 6, 2020, President Donald Trump signed into law an $8.3 billion emergency coronavirus disease 2019 (“COVID-19”) response funding package. In addition to providing funding for the development of treatments and public health funding for prevention, preparedness, and response, the bill authorizes the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services, Alex Azar (referred to herein as the “Secretary”), to waive Medicare restrictions on the provision of services via telehealth during this public health emergency.
Greater utilization of telehealth during the COVID-19 outbreak will reduce providers’ and patients’ exposure to the virus in health care facilities. Telehealth is especially useful for mild cases of illness that can be managed at the patient’s home, thereby decreasing the volume of individuals seeking care in facilities. To further facilitate the increased utilization of telehealth, the Centers for Disease Control’s interim guidance for healthcare facilities notes that healthcare providers can communicate with patients by telephone if formal telehealth systems are not available. This allows providers to have greater flexibility when telehealth technology providers lack the bandwidth to accommodate this increase in telehealth utilization or are otherwise unavailable.
As so many of you know, the barriers to the wider adoption of telemedicine are numerous. In listening to various stakeholders in the telemedicine space over the years, I consistently hear the same barriers being discussed:
Multistate licensure for physicians and other health professionals;
Data privacy and security;
Credentialing and privileging; and
Corporate practice of medicine
One issue, however, that gets short shrift in my view is the issue of online prescribing—an issue that presents as formidable a barrier to the wider adoption of ...
- Video: Braidwood v. Becerra – Challenging the Affordable Care Act’s Preventive Services Coverage Provision – Thought Leaders in Health Law
- DOJ’s FY 2023 Statistics: Highest Number of Settlements, Judgments, and Civil Investigative Demands in History and a Continued Health Care Focus
- FDA Releases Updated Directory on Select Dietary Supplement Ingredients
- In Alabama, Pre-Embryos are “Extrauterine Children” Under the State’s Wrongful Death Statute
- NJ Approves Cannabis Regulatory Amendment with Major Impacts on Class 5 Retail License Holders