The Trump administration has issued an executive order designed to improve access to telehealth for Medicare beneficiaries in rural America, making permanent numerous changes that had been temporarily added for the COVID-19 pandemic. The news arrives as the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) posted the draft Medicare physician fee schedule (MPFS) complete with expanded use of telehealth for a number of services.
The U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has received funds for another telehealth program in less than a year. An agency statement indicates that the program “would immediately support health care providers” working to thwart the COVID-19 outbreak. This would be achieved in part by supporting purchases of devices and other items needed to provide telehealth, which the Connected Health Initiative said will help drive an overdue overhaul of health care in the U.S.
The Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) and CMS both posted their final rules for electronic health records (EHRs), and analysts with Cowen Washington Research Group said both rules essentially replicate the draft versions. The provisions dealing with data blocking and interoperability are expected to benefit developers of HER systems in the near term, and telehealth should also benefit, albeit over a longer scale of time.