This year, due to the COVID-19 public health emergency, the HHS’ Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) extended the coverage of telehealth service by including all Medicare beneficiaries, no matter location.
Telehealth services remove the obstacles to in-person health care that the COVID-19 pandemic created and enable healthcare practitioners to deliver treatment to patients in their own houses and, in so doing, make patient protection and management of the spread of COVID-19 possible. The widening of coverage is only applicable during the coronavirus public health emergency, though calls have been growing for the expanded CMS telehealth policies to remain after the public health emergency is proclaimed over.
On June 9, 2020, STAT News held a virtual event where CMS Administrator Seema Verma stated she supported the irreversible expansion of having telehealth services. The FTC has additionally weighed, with executives stating their support for the permanent elimination of the geographical rules and ongoing expansion of the types of services that could be offered by telehealth.
On May 21, there were 32 House members who signed a letter recommending the Congress to provide telehealth more time to show itself and asked for the relaxation of telehealth rules to keep going after the COVID-19 emergency period. The extension will make sure that adequate data is gathered to find out which of the new flexibilities ought to be made irreversible.
A lot of providers and patients throughout the United States have availed telehealth services at the time of the public health emergency and telehealth has risen in popularity with health providers and patients alike. It looks possible that telehealth will be here to stay, and virtual consultations will replace in-person care in particular cases.
Telehealth was made considerably simpler for healthcare providers by the HHS’ Office for Civil Rights, which released a notice of enforcement discretion saying that there won’t be penalties and sanctions imposed on healthcare providers for the good faith use of non-HIPAA-compliant communication platforms for delivering telehealth services. That notice of enforcement discretion is only applicable for the duration of the public health emergency, after which healthcare providers will have to use HIPAA-compliant platforms. Any provider that is not yet utilizing a HIPAA-compliant telehealth software must now think about making the change.
One HIPAA-compliant solution that became very popular at the time of the pandemic is TigerTouch from TigerConnect. TigerTouch brings together video, voice, and SMS into one hassle-free mobile and desktop application which permits internal communication between care team members and patient communication by means of the same application. The solution additionally features the sharing of files and medical photos and is completely HIPAA-compliant, so ePHI is securely shared. Healthcare providers that have used the solution report considerable cost savings, better patient care, improved workflow efficiency, and happier staff and patients.
TigerConnect organized a webinar to present the solution and demonstrate how the integrations and telehealth capabilities of the system are helping to better the quality of patient care, boost patient safety, and increase patient satisfaction levels.
Watch the webinar on-demand on this webpage.