Mar 18, 2020 - Health

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.

Go deeper...Coronavirus updates: Washington state reports 1,000 cases as U.S. death toll tops 100

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Trump: Some hospitals are hoarding ventilators

President Trump during his coronavirus briefing at the White House on Sunday. Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

President Trump claimed during a briefing at the White House on Sunday that some hospitals and health care workers were "hoarding equipment, including ventilators" and suggested reporters and states look into the increased demand for masks.

Details: Trump's comments drew criticism from Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and the Greater New York Hospital Association, which said health care workers "deserve better than their president suggesting that PPE is 'going out the back door' of New York hospitals," in reference to Trump singling out an unnamed state hospital to question why they were using so many masks.

Go deeperArrowMar 30, 2020 - Health

Washington state officials confirm second coronavirus death in U.S.

Coronavirus contained within the endoplasmatic reticulum of a vero E6 cell. Photo: BSIP/UIG Via Getty Images

A second person has died in the U.S. from the novel coronavirus — and just like the first one, it's in Washington state, King County Public Health confirmed in a statement Sunday night.

The big picture: Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D) declared a state of emergency Sunday in response to new infections in the state. Washington now has 13 cases. Several of those infected are from the Life Care Center of Kirkland nursing home. Unlike the first coronavirus death in the U.S., the man in his 70s with underlying health conditions who died on Saturday was a resident of the home. Both patients died in EvergreenHealth Medical Center in Kirkland.

Go deeper: Washington state officials confirm first coronavirus death in U.S.

Editor's note: This article has been updated with new details, including Washington case numbers.

House Democrats' virus bill would fund student Wi-Fi hotspots

House Democrats' coronavirus response plan unveiled Monday would direct funding to pay for Wi-Fi hotspots for students and bar broadband providers from imposing data caps during the crisis.

The big picture: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced the legislation after Republicans and Democrats in the Senate failed to move their own stimulus measure forward.