Update: Telehealth Expansion Approved by Emergency Waiver
Medicare can pay for office, hospital, and other visits furnished via telehealth across the country and including in patient’s places of residence starting March 6, 2020. A range of providers, such as doctors, nurse practitioners, clinical psychologists, and licensed clinical social workers, will be able to offer telehealth to their patients. Additionally, 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.
COVID-19 testing is free for Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries. There is no need to sit in an Emergency Department or Doctor’s office to get evaluated for COVID-19. The new COVID Emergency Funds signed into law last week includes access to these services. In fact, you can use their smart phone or computer to access care during the pandemic. This is welcome news for caregivers and seniors at highest risk for contracting or spreading this silent but potentially deadly virus.
What is Telehealth?
A visit for diagnostic, treatment and evaluation performed by a licensed professional with legal authority to perform a given care service can be a telehealth provider. Telehealth and telemedicine are used to mean the same thing. In other words, both refer to a patient’s ability to access care using a smart phone or internet connected device for a live conversation or by leaving a message or image where the care provider responds with appropriate medical advice.
Telehealth is the Right Door to Enter for COVID Care
Telehealth puts you are one giant step closer to seeing a doctor today. In addition you will need a thermometer, note pad and calendar. It is your responsibility is to keep track of the dates, times and symptoms you are experiencing. With this information you can now contact your insurance customer service line or your primary care physician and request the service. Above all, do not be discouraged if your favorite doctor refuses to engage in a telephone visit. In fact, your insurance provider may have a program for you where the healthcare professionals have been properly vetted and certified to conduct the service.