Be sure to tune in to Avoid the Telehealth Cliff: Managing Risk in Virtual Care to learn more about telehealth/telemedicine/virtual care compliance issues that should be on your organization’s radar. Our expert panel will help you understand:
- Which state and federal policies have had the biggest impact on care delivery
- How Washington is trying to balance patient rights with the need for access to high-quality care
- What steps you can take now to develop a compliant and sustainable telehealth strategy
Why it Matters
Pre-pandemic, state, and federal regulations greatly limited providers’ ability to deliver remote healthcare services. After the public health emergency declaration, however, providers have spent the last two years adapting to—and benefitting from—expanded telehealth flexibility.
Patients love it. In fact, they’ve come to expect it. Now the clock is ticking as many jurisdictions consider the best regulatory paths for their communities.
While there’s no putting the genie of patient experience back in the bottle, some states have begun a return to more stringent regulations, while others are adapting their policies to fit the “new normal.”
Meanwhile, 83% of patients look forward to continuing their virtual care visits after the declared public health emergency ends.
At the federal level, however, questions abound:
- Will Medicare beneficiaries lose access to care once the current waivers expire?
- How likely is the Biden administration to extend them?
- Which changes might Congress make permanent?
- Uncertainties like these make it difficult to develop a long-term telehealth strategy, especially for large, multi-state hospitals and healthcare organizations.
Avoid the Telehealth Cliff: Managing Risk in Virtual Care
In 2019, 43% of healthcare centers were capable of providing telemedicine, though by 2020 95% of all providers in the USA had begun to offer virtual care visits. The central provisions of the COVID-19 public health emergency (PHE) allowed providers to rapidly expand virtual care services.
Prior to the start of the pandemic, providers were not allowed to offer virtual care visits to all of their Medicare patients but the emergency conditions of the situation made many new treatment options available for the first time. Easing The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) guidelines played an instrumental role in driving telehealth adoption in the United States.
Take this opportunity to sign up for Avoid the Telehealth Cliff: Managing Risk in Virtual Care. Ensure that your organization has the resources and insight needed to manage risk to scale success and master telehealth. Telehealth compliance is a complex topic and the landscape is changing rapidly—get the answers needed to scale success and unlock the true value of your strategy.
Your patients get a lot of value from their digital care appointments and expanding services makes sense for your organization. Take advantage of this exciting opportunity to learn more about the shifting landscape of telehealth regulatory compliance requirements.
Futureproof Your Organization’s Telemedicine Program
It’s never easy to predict how Congress will respond or to be sure when the COVID-19 emergency declaration will come to an end. Nonetheless, current trends and conversations indicate that there’s broad-based bipartisan agreement that some measures to improve access to telehealth should be made permanent. In some states, including Arizona, legislators have already taken steps to do so.
In Arizona’s case, House Bill 2454 not only makes the state’s temporary telehealth restrictions permanent but also expands the services available to rural hospitals and those serving underserved populations. It’s expected that other states will follow suit, but a future patchwork of state-specific telehealth compliance rules may be one future challenge that provider organizations will need to contend with.
In March of 2022, President Biden signed an omnibus spending bill into law. The bill includes provisions extending the telehealth policies adopted during the pandemic for five months (151 days) after the end of the public health emergency. Numerous medical associations and healthcare advocacy groups, including the American Medical Association (AMA) and the American Hospital Association (AHA), have voiced their support for the portions of this legislation that extend pandemic-era telehealth policies.
As growing numbers of states enact legislation similar to the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), popular concern about personal data privacy is on the rise. This fact alone makes it seem unlikely that the Office for Civil Rights and Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Service will continue to permit telehealth visits to be reimbursable without holding them to HIPAA standards for data encryption, privacy, and security.
In addition, CMS continues to advance provisions mandating that healthcare data be readily available for exchange between providers, providers, and payers and patients. This growing focus on interoperability and interconnectedness among healthcare information systems means virtual care platform interoperability may be emphasized in the future.
Telehealth platform interoperability will likely become a means of enabling high-quality clinical outcomes, a measure that regulators will likely focus on more heavily in the future.
Many hospitals and health systems rushed their implementation of telehealth solutions in 2020, choosing tools and platforms hastily and with only short-term needs in mind. Now that it’s clear that hybrid care is here to stay, and that its utilization will have a profound impact on every healthcare organization’s bottom line in 2022 and beyond, health systems must seek out telehealth solutions that are HIPAA compliant, as well as those that can be readily integrated with electronic medical record (EMR) systems as well as CMS interoperability standards.
Get the answers your healthcare organization needs to successfully manage telehealth risk to realize the sweet reward of expanded profitability in the years to come.