Excerpt of a contributed article published in Medical Economics on August 13, 2020.
The public health emergency (PHE) caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in systemic changes throughout the nation’s health care system. Almost overnight, health systems, providers and the government were forced to collaborate to ‘stand up’ field hospitals, testing sites, and quarantine procedures, while postponing or cancelling certain elective procedures and ceasing in-person encounters. One of the most significant developments in the response to COVID-19 has been government support for the expansion of telehealth services, which represents a significant departure from longstanding resistance – in the form of regulatory restrictions, payment policies, licensure restrictions, and privacy concerns – to the provision of health care via telehealth. Most recently, the President issued an Executive Order that directs the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to propose regulations to codify some of the key telehealth changes, and notes that almost half of Medicare fee-for-service primary care visits during the month of April were provided via telehealth.
This article provides a high-level overview of those changes, highlights key issues for health care providers to monitor as federal and state governments, physicians and patients continue to battle the COVID-19 pandemic, and considers how the post-COVID-19 health care landscape will look for telehealth services. Read the full article.