(WASHINGTON, DC) March 25, 2020– Today, the Connected Health Initiative released a statement from executive director Morgan Reed regarding the congressional passage of the latest Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act.
“The CARES Act passed by the Senate today opens the door for healthcare providers to leverage telehealth and remote patient monitoring technologies to flatten the curve of the COVID-19 pandemic. CHI has led the charge to remove barriers and expand access to these technologies to combat the spread of COVID-19 with our partners including the American Medical Association, Apple, Boston Children’s Hospital, George Washington University Hospital, Microsoft, Podimetrics, Rimidi, Roche, and United Health Group, among others.
“Telehealth and remote patient monitoring are already proving to be critical tools in the fight against COVID-19, but the new provisions in the Senate CARES Act will ensure even America’s most medically and economically vulnerable can benefit. Medicare and Medicaid patients struggle to get access to care, and locking them out of opportunities for telehealth during this crisis would be devastating.”
The key provisions in the CARES Act passed by the Senate include:
Temporarily waiving “in-person” visit requirement for telehealth services – An in-person visit is generally required to establish a patient-provider relationship before a patient can receive telehealth services. This requirement is dangerously counterproductive in our current crisis because:
It requires Americans to leave their homes for red tape rather than out of medical need.
It creates unnecessary risk to healthcare providers. Forty-two percent of America’s doctors are over the age of 55, and exposure to COVID-19 could sideline even young, healthy doctors for weeks or months. In fact, some general practitioners and other practices are considering moving completely to telehealth during this crisis.
The most economically and medically vulnerable are particularly harmed. Medicaid and Medicare recipients are less likely to have existing primary care providers than Americans with private insurance. This makes it far more difficult for them to take advantage of telehealth opportunities.
Requiring HHS to pay for telehealth services provided by Federally Qualified Health Centers and Rural Health Centers – FQHCs and RHCs are critical healthcare providers in underserved communities throughout America, and embracing telehealth will help them flatten the curve, manage growing caseloads, and keep providers healthy at this critical time.
Waiving the “in-person” visit requirement for home dialysis patients – The existing statutory provision covering telehealth for home dialysis Medicare patients requires in-person visits that unnecessarily jeopardize the health of patients and providers.
Editor’s Note: CHI is driven by its Steering Committee, which consists of the American Medical Association, Apple, Bose Corporation, Boston Children’s Hospital, Cambia Health Solutions, Dogtown Media, George Washington University Hospital, Intel Corporation, Kaia Health, Microsoft, Novo Nordisk, Otsuka Pharmaceutical, Podimetrics, Proteus Digital Health, Rimidi, Roche, Spekt, United Health Group, the University of California-Davis, the University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMMC) Center for Telehealth, the University of New Orleans, and the University of Virginia Center for Telehealth.
About CHI: The Connected Health Initiative (CHI) is the nation’s leading consortium of health technology innovators, policy experts and patient advocates. Together, we advance solutions that enable providers and patients to achieve better health outcomes, reduce health costs, and foster the adoption of transformative technology throughout the healthcare system.