“Caution is appropriate. Preparedness is appropriate. Panic is not.” (~ U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams, commenting on the coronavirus)
The recent coronavirus outbreak is gaining world attention as it spreads, with increasing focus on outbreaks and containment efforts throughout the United States. On March 6, 2020, President Trump signed into law an emergency $8.3 billion spending bill passed by Congress that would give the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) the authority to temporarily lift certain restrictions on Medicare telehealth coverage to assist in the efforts to contain the virus. Companies in the telehealth industry should consider the following key takeaways and insights on how the recent legislation could impact their industry.
The Telehealth Services During Certain Emergency Periods Act of 2020 (the TSDCEPA) is part of the larger bipartisan Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Action 2020, and provides authority to HHS to waive certain existing limitations on Medicare coverage and payment for telehealth services furnished to Medicare beneficiaries—clearing the way for vulnerable Medicare beneficiaries to receive care in their homes. The care can relate to any condition, not just coronavirus-related conditions, and all currently approved telehealth codes can be utilized, as appropriate. This means that telehealth could be utilized not only for initial evaluations to determine if coronavirus testing is necessary, but also for ongoing health care treatment related to other conditions so patients can remain in their homes.
The key takeaways are as follows:
For additional web-based resources available to health care providers regarding evolving changes to Medicare policies, you may wish to visit Medicare’s current emergencies webpage, which includes important billing FAQs. Also, to assist you in monitoring the spread of the coronavirus on a global basis, you may wish to visit the sites provided by the CDC and the World Health Organization.
Companies in the health care industry should take additional steps now to mitigate the risk of suffering negative impacts from the coronavirus. Foley will continue to keep you apprised of relevant coronavirus-related developments. Click here for Foley's Coronavirus Resource Center for insights and resources to support your business during this challenging time.
For more information on telemedicine, telehealth, virtual care, remote patient monitoring, digital health, and other health innovations, including the team, publications, and representative experience, visit Foley’s Telemedicine & Digital Health Industry Team Page.