Medicare issues new telehealth flexibility amid coronavirus crisis
Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios
Medicare said yesterday that it will temporarily pay providers for a much broader range of telehealth services.
Why it matters: This will allow seniors — who are particularly vulnerable to the coronavirus — to avoid going to hospitals or doctors' offices for routine care that can be provided virtually. This, in turn, reduces their exposure to the virus.
What they're saying: "It's not clear how comfortable older adults are with telehealth, but if they are, and their doctors are on board, this seems like a smart way to keep patients connected to their doctors, without exposing themselves or others to greater risk," the Kaiser Family Foundation's Tricia Neuman said.
- Yes, but: "There are obvious limits to telehealth for patients when more extensive work ups are needed for diagnosis, or for monitoring conditions, or when patients need in-office procedures, or surgery," Neuman added.