The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has announced its plan to end the Federal Public Health Emergency (PHE) for COVID-19 on May 11, 2023. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, emergency declarations, legislation, and regulatory waivers across government agencies, including the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), allowed for flexibility in the delivery of care to patients, including the expanded use of telehealth. Originally intended to conserve healthcare resources and prevent unnecessary exposure to COVID-19, the use of virtual care has exploded since the beginning of the pandemic to become an intrinsic, essential part of the healthcare delivery system. Now, at the end of the PHE, we examine the path forward for telehealth and the extent to which providers may continue to offer it to patients.Continue Reading Two Weeks’ Notice for the Public Health Emergency: What’s Next for Telehealth
Recent legislative changes indicate that Congress is committed to continuing to allow patients to access telehealth services after the COVID-19 public health emergency (PHE) ends, but it is gathering more information before making such changes permanent. Comments from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (“HHS”) Secretary Xavier Becerra and the HHS Office of Inspector General (“OIG”) indicate that HHS is committed to expanding telehealth beyond the end of the PHE and that the OIG recognizes the long-term benefits of access to these services.
Continue Reading Telehealth Flexibilities Extended to Late 2022 and Likely Beyond
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) expanded Medicare reimbursement for telehealth within the annual Physician Fee Schedule (PFS) final rule for 2021. During the pandemic Public Health Emergency (PHE), CMS has temporarily reimbursed many telehealth services. In light of the success of unprecedented telehealth utilization during the PHE, more than 60 services have been formally added to the Medicare telehealth list which will endure beyond the end of the PHE.
Continue Reading CMS Permanently Expands Telehealth as Far as Congress Has Allowed
On October 29, 2020, HHS extended the effective date of compliance for the “Information Blocking” final rule promulgated as part of the 21st Century Cures Act (Information Blocking Rule). The Information Blocking Rule, which was set to take effect on November 2, 2020, prohibits health care providers, IT developers, and health information exchanges from unreasonably interfering with the access, exchange, or use of electronic health information (EHI). We previously discussed the practice of information blocking and the eight exceptions in our blog post Information Blocking: Ready or Not, Here it Comes!.
Continue Reading Update: Information Blocking Rule Deadline Delayed, But Telehealth Still in Play
Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has further expanded the list of telehealth services that Medicare Fee-For-Service will pay for during the COVID-19 public health emergency (PHE) as of October 14, 2020. CMS is adding 11 new services to the Medicare telehealth services list and will begin paying eligible practitioners who furnish these services immediately and through the end of the PHE. The new telehealth services include neurostimulator analysis and programming services, and cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation services.
Continue Reading CMS Looks Beyond COVID-19 for Telehealth Expansion
Thursday, October 15, 2020 – Live Webinar | Noon – 1:00 p.m. CDT
Please join Husch Blackwell as we go virtual with our Health Law Conference. The series will include a range of important topics relevant to the healthcare industry, and will be moderated by Curt Chase, leader of the firm’s Healthcare, Life Sciences and Education team; Hal Katz, American Bar Association, Health Law Section, Chair; and Tom Shorter, American Health Law Association, President-Elect Designate. The webinar programs will be offered every Thursday through November 19.
Continue Reading Health Law & Innovation Virtual Series – Virtual Health: Who Will Be Leading Tomorrow? CMS, Consumers, COVID-19?
In the wake of a record number of Covid-19 cases and with flu season around the corner, Governor Tony Evers and Wisconsin Department of Health Secretary Designee Andrea Palm issued a new emergency order on October 1, 2020. Emergency Order #2 is designed to help address an anticipated surge in healthcare staffing needs.
Continue Reading Emergency Order #2 Targets Staffing Demands in Wisconsin Healthcare Facilities
The use of telehealth has become indispensable across the country in recent months due to the COVID-19 public health emergency (PHE) and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS)’s temporary expansion of payment for telehealth services. CMS reports that virtual visits for Medicare beneficiaries have jumped from approximately 14,000 per week pre-PHE to almost 1.7 million in the last week of April.
Continue Reading CMS Proposes Permanent Expansion of Telehealth Beyond the Public Health Emergency
On April 23, 2020, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (“CMS”) released a new COVID-19 toolkit. While the toolkit is directed to the states, it should serve the American telehealth community as a focal point for the organization and alignment of the infinite number of state and federal regulations relevant to telehealth. So, it serves as a great organizing tool for provider’s own operational use but also as an architecture for providers to catalogue the changes they would like to suggest to the states in order to improve access to telehealth.
Continue Reading CMS’s New Telehealth Toolkit Arrives at Just the Right COVID-19 Time for Providers and Policy Makers
On April 13, 2020 the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) began accepting applications for the COVID-19 Telehealth Program (“Telehealth Program”), money which is part of the recent Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (“Cares Act”). The Telehealth Program will provide $200 million in funding to assist eligible health care providers deliver telehealth services to patients in their homes or other mobile locations to combat novel Coronavirus 2019 (“COVID-19”). The funding is available for eligible health care providers responding to the COVID-19 pandemic by compensating providers for their telecommunication services, information services, and devices necessary for them to provide critical telehealth services.
Continue Reading COVID-19 Telehealth Funds available for Academic Medical Centers