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Showing 3 posts in Telemedicine.

Providing Medically Assisted Therapy During the National COVID-19 Crisis

Posted In medication assisted therapy, Telehealth, Telemedicine

With the President’s declaration of a national emergency, the HHS Secretary has issued waivers of certain regulatory requirements that enable health care providers that provide medically assisted therapy to provide services in a manner that will reduce the risk of transmission of the COVID-19 virus. The waivers relax Medicare and other regulatory requirements for telehealth that are to the benefit of physicians who can implement a telehealth program.  With the Kentucky Board of Medical Licensure’s guidance about prescribing refills of controlled substances for established patients that will apply to Buprenorphine, clinics have the authority to establish robust telehealth programs during this crisis. This is especially appropriate for substance use disorder patients as they may be particularly susceptible to the COVID-19 virus, often facing respiratory challenges as a result of pulmonary damage caused by drug use. In addition, substance use disorder patients often experience co-morbidities. More >

New Telehealth Expansion May Benefit Healthcare Entities

Posted In Telehealth, Telemedicine

Telehealth may be the answer to sustaining rural health care, hospital outpatient services, and primary care during the COVID-19 health crisis. With the CMS announcement on March 17th of how it will pay for telehealth, delineation of the codes, and major changes for patient location requirement, all rural health clinics, physician practices that provide MAT, primary care practices, federally qualified health care centers, and hospital outpatient departments should immediately review the expansion of telehealth coverage and determine how practices and clinics can benefit from the relaxed requirements and how these services can be quickly implemented.

Also, on March 19, the Cabinet for Health and Family Services expanded Medicaid services to include “any appropriate health service related to or rationally related to the declared emergency” and telehealth services which may include the use of a telephone. This new regulation temporarily suspends certain income and institutionalization restrictions. The regulation also expands its reach to services provided under WIC. These changes will have a corresponding effect on Medicaid coverage and payments.

Implementation of a telehealth program requires careful consideration of the requirements and new policies and procedures.  Also, all services regardless of ambiguous government guidance must be well documented.

Telehealth may be the way to provide services and protect health care providers.  Let us know if McBrayer can be of assistance.  The CMS fact sheet related to the telehealth expansion can be found here

Lisa English Hinkle is a Member of McBrayer law. Ms. Hinkle chairs the healthcare law practice and is located in the firm’s Lexington office. Contact Ms. Hinkle at lhinkle@mcbrayerfirm.com or (859) 231-8780, ext. 1256, or reach out to any of the attorneys at McBrayer. 

Services may be performed by others.

This article does not constitute legal advice.

Telehealth/Telemedicine: An Opportunity for Physicians and Providers to Add a New Line of Service

The cost effectiveness of providing health care via telemedicine or telehealth promises to be an effective tool to increase coverage and reimbursement of healthcare provided remotely or through telehealth. Towers Watson, a national consulting company, recently published a 2014 study that suggests that telemedicine could save $6 billion annually for the health care industry. "Achieving this savings requires a shift in patient and physician mindsets, health plan willingness to integrate and reimburse such services, and regulatory support in all states," according to Dr. Allan Khoury, a senior consultant at Towers Watson.[1] Recent studies have assigned significant cost savings generated by telehealth use that include cost savings of $537 million per year for emergency departments using telehealth to reduce transfers and spending reductions of 7.7% to 13.3% per person per quarter in the cost of care for chronically ill Medicare beneficiaries using a health buddy via telehealth. [2] As the cost effectiveness of providing services via telehealth and telemedicine is proven, Medicare, most state Medicaid programs and commercial insurers are increasing coverage as well as reimbursement for telehealth services. State law requirements for providing telehealth and coverage differ greatly. Consequently, physicians and health care providers should be aware of the complexity of providing telehealth and its requirements, but should also incorporate telehealth services into their practices as a new way of providing services and a new line of business. More >

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