Incentivize Innovations That Make Telemedicine Indispensable Amid COVID

The Hill

Leslie V. Norwalk, Strategic Counsel at Epstein Becker Green and EBG Advisors, Inc., in the firm’s Washington, DC, office, co-authored an article in The Hill, titled “Incentivize Innovations That Make Telemedicine Indispensable Amid COVID.”

Following is an excerpt:

With the COVID-19pandemic continuing to attack America and patients avoiding potentially infected emergency rooms and physicians’ offices, the demand for telemedicine services has surged. Federal programs, private insurers and medical professionals are embracing this innovation, and, at long last, public policies are clearing longstanding obstacles to its growth.

Health care practitioners have seen exponential growth in virtual visits since March, and online appointments are expected to top 1 billion by year’s end. Thousands of individual practitioners and more than 100 medical systems, including some of the nation’s leading health care providers, are integrating telehealth technology to connect to patients at home.

The nation’s leading payer of health care services, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), has expanded Medicare reimbursement to pay for additional online health care services. CMS is also accelerating the use of telemedicine in Medicaid, and the Children’s Health Insurance Programs. Meanwhile, Congress’ $2 trillion stimulus includes $185 million for telemedicine and allows more Medicare Advantage insurance plans to cover telehealth services.

As a former acting administrator of CMS and a former senior executive at the American Hospital Association, we both support expanding telemedicine and the broadband connections that make online consultations possible, so that all Americans can benefit. We also recognize that broadband infrastructure and access are critical to empowering patients to benefit from these advances.