Medicare’s administrator Seema Verma said the move will help prevent the spread of illness, but critics say telehealth is limited, especially in rural areas, and seniors who don’t know how to use devices might be imperiled if family members get close in order to teach them.
The Associated Press: To Keep Seniors Safe At Home, Medicare Expands Telemedicine
Medicare said Tuesday it will immediately expand coverage for telemedicine nationwide to help seniors with health problems stay home to avoid the coronavirus. The new option will allow millions of older people to take care of ongoing medical problems as well as new concerns, while heeding public health advice to stay home during the outbreak. (Alonso-Zaldivar, 3/17)
Modern Healthcare: Medicare Expands Telehealth To Fight COVID-19
The Trump administration on Monday announced that it will expand telehealth services for Medicare beneficiaries and cut back on HIPAA enforcement, the latest move to combat the coronavirus pandemic.Medicare will pay doctors and hospitals for a broad range of telehealth services on a temporary basis, effective March 6. The program will pay for office and hospital telehealth visits and include a wide range of providers including nurse practitioners, clinical psychologists and social workers. Telehealth visits will be reimbursed for the same amount as in-person visits. (Brady, 3/17)
The Wall Street Journal: Telemedicine Gets A Boost From Coronavirus Pandemic
The Trump administration expanded access to telemedicine in Medicare, a move that could relieve crowding at hospitals but strain companies facing a surge in demand from the coronavirus pandemic. Medicare patients will now have greater ability to seek treatment from their providers through remote means, such as videoconferencing on Skype or Apple Inc.’s FaceTime. The changes announced on Tuesday apply to the 44 million people who are on Medicare, a federal program for seniors and the disabled. (Armour and McKinnon, 3/17)
CNN: Patients And Doctors Are Turning To Telehealth, But What Is It?
The coronavirus pandemic has opened the door for Medicare patients to have access to telehealth, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) said Tuesday. But what is that, exactly? Telehealth connects patients to healthcare providers through videoconferencing, electronic consultations and virtual communications, in lieu of in-person consultations, according to the American Hospital Association. In 2019, 76% of US hospitals used the technology. (Holcombe, 3/18)
Stat: Patients Overwhelm Telehealth Services Amid Coronavirus Pandemic
Telehealth services are sagging under the weight of an unprecedented surge in patients as hospitals scramble to shift routine care online in response to the coronavirus pandemic. The crisis is stressing major telehealth providers’ technical infrastructure and the supply of physicians prepared to deliver care virtually. (Brodwin and Ross, 3/17)
Stat: White House Is Pinning Its Hopes On Health Tech. Can It Deliver?
Over the past week, President Trump and his administration have made statements and taken other actions that show they increasingly recognize the magnitude of the coronavirus pandemic — and are counting on health tech, and especially telemedicine, to help save the country. But can the technology meet the demands of this extraordinary moment? How the health tech community performs in this crisis could instantly and dramatically advance the industry — and shape how medical care gets delivered for years to come. (Robbins, 3/18)
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