Healthcare Industry Changes

Goals

To understand how healthcare in the future may have permanently shifted to more telehealth solutions.

Early Findings

Regulatory Changes

  • The NAHC has issued an urgent plea for CMS to provide access and financial support for protective equipment for home-care workers.
  • On March 6, it was announced that telehealth for Medicare recipients was being extended to essentially cover all beneficiaries. Reimbursement rates were to be the same as in-person visits.
  • The bill also relaxed telehealth delivery, allowing it be delivered on platforms like smartphones.
  • At the same time, the government announced it was happy for providers to extend telehealth reimbursement for existing Medicaid patients, as well, though it is ultimately the states that determine this.
  • Additionally, the HHS division responsible for enforcing HIPAA announced it was temporarily taking a more relaxed position on enforcing HIPAA, especially as related to telehealth.
  • Additionally, now more types of clinicians can offer telehealth services under Medicare. These now include nurse practioners, clinical psychologists and social workers.
  • Furthermore, "the HHS Office of Inspector General (OIG) is providing flexibility for healthcare providers to reduce or waive cost-sharing for telehealth visits paid by federal healthcare programs."
  • The DEA has also lifted its requirement that a person must be examined in-person once before they can be prescribed controlled substances.

Payor Responses

  • Some payors, like Aetna and BCBS announced they were waiving copays for telehealth visits.
  • UnitedHealth Group has announced that any of its providers can offer telehealth can do so. Benefits will be in accordance to the member's plan.

Other Trends

  • Some providers have reported their systems have been flooded or overloaded by the new increased move to telehealth. The Cleveland Clinic reported 15x more tele-consult requests in the past week.
  • Doctor on Demand said its demand is up 50%.

Proposed next steps:

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