In fact, the U.S. House was voting on H.R. 4040 during our broadcast.
While the Senate won’t take action on H.R. 4040, also known as the Advancing Telehealth Beyond COVID-19 Act, until September or later, I’d like to share some insights from our webinar on the many other policy developments and compliance issues facing our industry today.
Bridge Building to Avoid the Telehealth Cliff
My passion lies in ensuring every patient across the United States has access to care by pushing for concrete policies that protect the use of telehealth.
Through this discussion, an overlapping theme of building bridges continues to come up.
With the consumerization of healthcare, patients have grown accustomed to the virtual care delivery models that became so prevalent in the wake of the pandemic. However, as many technologies were hastily implemented, many organizations are now asking themselves whether their virtual care strategy is sustainable long term, especially with regard to state licensure, reimbursement, and consistent Medicare coverage.
Here are some key takeaways from our discussion:
I asked Dr. Brown what stakeholders should be aware of when preparing for the future:
“If there is a way to build greater efficiency while at the same time meeting the need for accessing and working with patients to give them the access they need while reducing the overhead costs and expenses. That really aligns nicely as clinicians are seeing some of their reimbursements decline.
I think it's really important to think through with that lens, that macro lens, as we start to advocate for more telehealth access, especially as we start to move out of the Public Health Emergency because patients want this, physicians want this when used appropriately, it can reduce costs and can be a really great value.”
Zinsmaster also reminded webinar participants that many organizations still need to prepare for implementing compliant telehealth services once waivers expire, in addition to maintaining data security:
“Their solution is compliant because of these waivers and exemptions, whether it's HIPAA or otherwise, but moving forward, how are we going to expand? How are we going to be able to ensure security over our data? How can we use that data to analyze and improve efficiencies and improve patient satisfaction? There's a lot of value in that data. So taking this data and utilizing it to figure out where are our blind spots, where are there areas for improvement, where are there areas for expansion?”
“Finding vendors that can capture and analyze data to make it functional and accessible for providers is key. Not a day goes by as a health care attorney that I'm not observing a ransomware attack or a tremendous punitive fine from the federal government for those operators that are not maintaining the appropriate levels of security or compliance.
If I'm an organization or provider, I'm looking at who am I working with that can help me drive a compliant system.”
The consumerization of healthcare has presented organizations with a unique opportunity to adopt long-term virtual care solutions. Despite roadblocks such as state licensures and reimbursement, the efficacy of virtual care promises to close provider gaps and widen the scope of care access. The key to all of this is building the necessary bridges to get there together.
Be sure to check out our on-demand presentation: Avoid the Telehealth Cliff: Managing Risk in Virtual Care.