Telehealth

Information about how COVID-19 has changed the use of telehealth to provide health care, including access, scope of practice, and regulatory changes at the state, federal, and organizational levels.

(07/08/20) Centering on Coronavirus Podcast: The Expansion of Telehealth
A podcast exploring the use of telehealth throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, and its potential for beyond. As Telehealth has become a main component of health care delivery following the COVID-19 pandemic, many providers and patients are finding value in the increased access and ability to avoid risk of infection of in person visits.

(07/06/20) Telehealth Providers Doing ‘More Visits Than Humanly Possible’ in a Day Draw CMS Scrutiny
Seema Verma, the administrator for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, stated during an interview that the agency is examining methods for detecting and investigating fraud in telehealth utilization, following some clinicians providing more telehealth visits than is actually possible at the emergency increased reimbursement rate.

(07/06/20) The Return of Housecalls: How COVID-19 Will Change Healthcare Forever
An article discussing the way in which COVID-19 has forced major changes in the United States health care industry, with historic “housecalls” making a comeback, although this time virtually. As telehealth offers increasing convenience and high levels of care, it likely is here to stay.

(07/02/20) Telehealth Called a ‘Silver Lining’ of the COVID-19 Pandemic. This Time, It Might Stick
An article covering the change in the use of telehealth since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Although use has currently fallen from its peak in April, for many situations, from patient questions to mental health visits, telehealth is proving to be a valuable and effective service that will likely continue in the future.

(06/30/20) A New Bill Asks Congress to Make Telehealth Coverage Expanded by the CARES Act Permanent
An article discussing a new bill introduced in the House of Representatives seeking to make permanent the telehealth regulations expanded by the CARES Act. The bill calls for ensuring reimbursement and technical assistance to providers to maintain or expand telehealth utilization beyond the COVID-19 pandemic.

(06/25/20) Telehealth Privacy and Security: Investment and Education Are Key, Attorney Says
An article highlighting some of the challenges many health care providers are facing in utilizing telehealth services, which were adopted rapidly following closures to clinics in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The author cites recommendations of investing in technology and broadband access, as well as education for both patients and providers as the key to success.

(06/25/20) CMS: Upcoming Medicare Payment Rule to Include Permanent Telehealth Expansions
This article covers upcoming changes to Medicare payment rules to make permanent expansions of telehealth seen in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. More than 100 new telehealth services have been made eligible for reimbursement since March 30.

(06/25/20) This is Supposed to Be Telemedicine’s Time to Shine. Why Are Doctors Abandoning it?
An opinion piece discussing some reasons for a reduction in telehealth usage by physicians following the record surge in utilization at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. The authors believe that utilization has dropped as a result of both easing of restrictions for in-person visits as well as uncertainty about the financial stability and reimbursement of telehealth visits.

(06/22/20) APhA Coronavirus Watch: Pharmacists Eye Advocacy for Telehealth
An article covering dialogue at a recent American Pharmacists Association COVID-19 training that encourages pharmacists to advocate for telehealth coverage and to be allowed to provide services via telehealth in the future.

(06/22/20) A Regulatory Response to COVID-19: Unleash Telehealth
An opinion piece covering the use of telehealth services leading up to the COVID-19 pandemic and how the use has rapidly changed since. Some suggestions are then offered for how to move forward and better understand what regulatory changes are necessary to maintain cost-effective, quality telehealth utilization.

(06/22/20) Idaho Gov. Little Signs Executive Order Easing Telehealth Restrictions Permanently
An article describing a new executive order signed by the Governor of Idaho, Brad Little, to make some of the regulatory changes enacted to address the COVID-19 pandemic permanent. The state has seen widespread adoption of telehealth services compared to before the pandemic.

(06/22/20) Lawmakers Want a Full Study of Telehealth During the COVID-19 Crisis
As questions have arisen about the effectiveness and appropriateness of the transition to telehealth services during the COVID-19 pandemic, a bipartisan group of legislatures are seeking a study by the United States Department of Health and Human Services to analyze the use of telehealth in Medicare, Medicaid, and the Children’s Health Insurance Program.

(06/22/20) State Efforts to Expand Medicaid Coverage & Access to Telehealth in Response to COVID-19
An issue brief from the Kaiser Family Foundation covering the ways in which states expanded telehealth access for Medicaid beneficiaries. This brief covers the broad authority states assume over what services are covered under telehealth in their Medicaid programs, as well as the additional actions taken to improve access for both patients and providers to telehealth technologies.

(06/17/20) Senate HELP Committee Weighs the Future of Telehealth
An article covering the debate among members of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions on which changes to telehealth should be maintained following the COVID-19 pandemic. Two regulatory changes likely to be maintained include the changes to originating site reimbursement and the expansion of Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement for telehealth visits.

(06/17/20) Telemedicine’s Tipping Point
An article discussing how COVID-19 has both been a leap and potential setback for telehealth services in the United States. While awareness of telehealth has greatly improved in the past few months, myths persist and questions about its quality potentially and how to compensate for care lead to issues with long-term transitions to telehealth.

(06/17/20) Telehealth Resource Centers Nationwide Aid Providers at No Cost
The 14 United States Health Resources and Services Administration-funded Telehealth Resource Centers are providing support for health care providers at no cost, and can help guide clinics in implementing telehealth programs effectively and safely both during and beyond the pandemic.

(06/15/20) What Sort of Staying Power Does Telehealth Really Have?
Amidst the widespread adoption and implementation of telehealth technologies during the COVID-19 pandemic, a question remains as to which regulations and what role telehealth will play after the pandemic ends.

(06/15/20) Experts Weigh in on Post-COVID-19 Telehealth Rules and Policies
An article covering some expert opinions on the changes to telehealth that are likely or beneficial post-COVID-19 pandemic. Some examples include changes to state licensure barriers, expanding broadband internet access, changes to health information privacy and data laws, and methods for dealing with fraud and abuse, among others.

(06/15/20) Senators Call for Permanent Changes to Expand Telehealth Access Post-Pandemic
An article covering the calls of at least 30 senators have made in support for expanding telehealth changes made during the pandemic to extend beyond the pandemic. These senators are also calling on the federal government to collect and analyze data on telehealth utilization, quality, and outcomes.

(06/11/20) Staying Connected in the COVID-19 Pandemic: Telehealth at the Largest Safety-Net System in the United States
A commentary published in Health Affairs discussing the use of telehealth at New York City Health + Hospitals amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. This public hospital system is the largest in the United States and conducted over 100,000 virtual visits using telehealth technology.

(06/11/20) Telehealth Transformation Under COVID-19 and the Implications for Equitable Care
A podcast from Mathematica covering the implementation of telehealth as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the ways in which telehealth enables health care providers to deliver better, more equitable care.

(06/11/20) Internists Encourage Several Major Health Insurers and Associations to Keep Telehealth and Other Flexibilities In Place After the COVID-19 Health Crisis
A press release discussing a series of letters sent by internists with the American College of Physicians calling for private insurers to continue reimbursing for telehealth services following the COVID-19 pandemic.

(06/10/20) Louisiana Lawmakers Expand Access To Mental Health Services Via Telehealth
Issues with reaching those in need of behavioral health services amidst the COVID-19 pandemic is being addressed by new legislation to expand telehealth guidelines in Louisiana. These expanded guidelines will allow providers to use telehealth to treat their patients, pending a signature from the Louisiana governor.

(06/09/20) Telehealth May Finally Shift Health Care To Be Patient-Centered
An article discussing the potential for the shift to telehealth in response to the COVID-19 pandemic to change the healthcare landscape in favor of patient-centered care. The author suggests that telehealth will help eliminate barriers to providing patient-centered care, which is typically burdensome on clinicians who are only receiving pay for procedures and visits.

(06/09/20) ‘I Can’t Imagine Going Back’: Medicare Leader Calls for Expanded Telehealth Access After COVID-19
An article describing comments from Seema Verma, the administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, in which she advocated for maintaining the expansion of telehealth services beyond the COVID-19 pandemic. However, Verma also commented that the federal government must reevaluate how reimbursement for virtual visits will continue forward.

(06/08/20) Rapid Changes To Health System Spurred by COVID Might Be Here To Stay
An article discussing how the typically change-resistant health care landscape of the United States has been fundamentally changed as a result of COVID-19, with changes to telehealth, primary care, and hospitals likely to remain after the pandemic is finished.

(06/05/20) Beyond COVID-19: Telehealth, Partnerships, Member Engagement
An article covering the ways in which some organizations around the United States are addressing COVID-19 and the increased use of telehealth, both during and beyond the COVID-19 pandemic.

(06/04/20) New Survey Shows Higher-Than-Normal Use of Primary Care and Telehealth by Patients
New data from the Larry A. Green Center shows that telehealth use and availability is increasingly common in primary care settings. The data also shows that primary care use has increased compared to 2019, even as overall in-person visitation volume has declined.

(06/03/20) FTC Asks CMS to Lift Telehealth Access, Reimbursement Restrictions Permanently
An article discussing a new letter sent from the Federal Trade Commission to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services calling for removing regulatory barriers for both telehealth and increasing the scope of practice of some non-physician practitioners.

(06/02/20) The Coronavirus Pandemic and the Transformation of Telehealth
An article highlighting the ways in which telehealth usage have changed following widespread adoption in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Both rural and urban settings have seen widespread increases in the use of telehealth.

(06/02/20) Telehealth Claim Lines Increase 4,347% Nationally from March 2019 To March 2020
An article covering the rapid growth of telehealth following the initiation of policies to address the COVID-19 pandemic. The most change was experienced in the southern United States and the least was experienced in the northeast.

(06/02/20) How the Rapid Shift to Telehealth Leaves Many Community Health Centers Behind During the COVID-19 Pandemic
A blog post discussing the shift from traditional ambulatory care to telehealth amidst the COVID-19 pandemic and how that has impacted community health centers. Issues with receiving payment and lack of training and equipment are among the most critical barriers to broader adoption of telehealth services at community health centers.

(06/02/20) Telehealth Lessons Learned During the COVID-19 Pandemic
An interview with Andrew J. Schuman of the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth, discussing how COVID-19 has changed the ways physicians practice medicine.

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