Insight, analysis & opinion from Joe Paduda

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Jun
14

The future of telehealth

Is going to be a lot clearer when Congress finishes work on the Connect for Health Act.

The bill has Bipartisan backing from 57 Senators, and would:

  • permanently remove geographic restrictions on telehealth,
  • allow patients to do visits from their homes and
  • grant the Secretary of HHS permanent authority to waive telehealth restrictions.

It is possible a competing bill  – which would only temporarily extend telehealth waivers – will be passed instead of the Connect for Health Act. Regardless, it’s clear telehealth is going to be a major part of US healthcare going forward.

Emergency regulations that lifted restrictions on telehealth are likely to extend thru the end of this year; these were a response to COVID.

One key issue is whether phone calls will “count” as telehealth, a change that would certainly expand the availability of these services, as even today many patients don’t have access to reliable internet and/or a video-connected device.

One likely change is reimbursement; expect Congress/HHS to reduce reimbursement for telehealth visits.

Impact…

I’d expect most workers’ comp fee schedules to follow Medicare’s lead – even those that aren’t directly tied to Medicare.

What does this mean for you?

When Medicare does something, everyone else soon follows. 


One thought on “The future of telehealth”

  1. Concise and well said Joe. I hope that through the PHE (Covid-19) that this may be the silver lining. I think there is so much potential to still tap into here in workers compensation, but more holistically in healthcare as a whole. I can continue to implore those engaged in any form of patient care to challenge the status quo. This is in many ways an opportunity to do this faster, with better outcomes, and at a reduced expense. Thanks!

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Joe Paduda is the principal of Health Strategy Associates

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