Medicare's Telehealth Services Expanded for COVID-19 Mitigation

March 17th 2020

CMS Administrator Seema Verma said the “dramatic expansion” will benefit the 62 million beneficiaries across the country enrolled in Medicare.

Telehealth services are being expanded under Medicare in an effort to mitigate the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), President Donald Trump announced Tuesday.

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In a press briefing with the Coronavirus Task Force, Trump said the expansion of telehealth services allows more patients to communicate with physicians through digital services, such as Skype and Facetime. He indicated that the goals of the expansion are to maintain social distancing and to avoid overburdening hospitals with patients.

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CMS Administrator Seema Verma said the “dramatic expansion” will benefit the 62 million beneficiaries across the country enrolled in Medicare. Previously, she said, full telehealth services were limited to patients who met certain criteria, including those mostly in rural areas of the United States who had difficulty accessing medical care. However, these services are now accessible in more homes and in a variety of care facilities.

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“This is part of our larger effort around mitigation [of COVID-19],” Verma said.

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By Tuesday afternoon, the CDC had 4226 reported cases in the United States and 75 deaths due to COVID-19. These cases included both confirmed and presumptive positive cases reported to the CDC or tested at a CDC site since January 21, 2020. The numbers do not include individuals repatriated to the United States from Wuhan, China and Japan.

2A version of this article was originally published by Pharmacy Times. VisitPharmacyTimes.comfor the full article.

REFERENCES

  1. Coronavirus Task Force. Press briefing. March 17, 2020.
  2. CDC. Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19): Cases & Latest Updates. CDC website.https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/cases-updates/cases-in-us.html?CDC_AA_refVal=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cdc.gov%2Fcoronavirus%2F2019-ncov%2Fcases-in-us.htmlUpdated March 17, 2020. Accessed March 17, 2020.

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