MediCare, MediCaid, Dept of Agriculture Announcement

Yesterday, the Trump Administration announced that telehealth coverage would be expanded for Medicare beneficiaries that will enable them to receive a wider range of healthcare services from their doctors without having to travel to a healthcare facility. For more details on the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services expanding telehealth options,see their press release with news of the announcement. CMS also shared a fact sheet about the expansion of telemedicine and has a FAQ document to provide clarity about how the expansion of this program to Medicare beneficiaries will help combat the spread of COVID-19. 

The Administration has announced it is expanding telehealth access for Medicare patients to help protect America’s seniors and high-risk individuals.

  • The President is directing the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to expand telehealth access for Medicare beneficiaries.
    • Prior to this, Medicare was only able to offer telehealth services under limited circumstances.
  • Medicare patients across the country will now be able to receive a wide range of services via telehealth.
  • The Administration is also relaxing enforcement of HIPAA restrictions to ensure doctors can expand care for patients using telehealth.

The Administration is cutting red tape so healthcare providers can provide patients the services they need without placing them at risk.

  • This expansion allows Medicare patients to be evaluated, receive preventative health screenings, and other services without leaving home.
  • Through telehealth, patients can access their doctors over the telephone or through video programs like Skype.
  • Telehealth services offer flexibility to Medicare recipients and provide an easy way for at-risk patients to receive services while avoiding exposure.
  • Expanding telehealth will also relieve stress on healthcare providers, allowing them to offer services remotely so that emergency rooms and doctor’s offices are available for urgent cases.

In addition to this announcement, the U.S. Department of Agriculture unveiled a plan yesterday to deliver nearly one million meals a week to students in a limited number of rural schools closed due to COVID-19.