Coronavirus Scare Likely to Boost Telehealth Adoption Among Home-Based Care Providers

Posted on Monday, March 16, 2020 12:29 PM

Last week, the Senate approved a bill to provide $8.3 billion in emergency funds to help with the coronavirus costs.  It also made sweeping changes to the telehealth statutes.  Congress is allowing the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to waive some originating-site constraints, specifically ones that restrict telehealth in nonrural settings. Providers will also new be able to give telehealth instruction over telephones with audio and video capabilities.

“Because all of the United States is currently under this public health emergency designation, any Medicare beneficiary would now be eligible for care from a provider via a two-way audio-video mechanism, including a smartphone,” legal experts from Alston & Bird wrote in an advisory note. “This applies anywhere in the U.S. for any Medicare-reimbursable telehealth service — not just for treatment of the coronavirus.”

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