New Bill Addresses Reimbursement for Therapy Professionals & more Telehealth Buzz

New Bill Addresses Telehealth Reimbursement for Therapy Professionals

  • A new bill, the Emergency COVID-19 Telehealth Response Act, would expand the list of healthcare providers able to treat patients via telehealth.
  • US Reps. Cindy Axne (D-IA), Troy Balderson (R-OH), and French Hill (R-AR) introduced the bill last week to address the exclusion of therapy professionals, such as PTs, OTs, speech language pathologists, and audiologists, from reimbursement for services provided via telehealth during the pandemic.
  • The Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act “authorized those services for telehealth reimbursement under Medicare but did not classify providers as eligible distant site providers.”
  • If the bill passes, therapy professionals will receive reimbursement from Medicare and Medicaid for treating patients through connected care platforms as eligible distant site providers.
  • The American Hospital Association, American Physical Therapy Association, American Occupational Therapist Association, American Academy of Audiology, and the Academy of Doctors of Audiology are just a few of the many groups in support of the new bill.
  • Read the full story here.

Skilled Nursing Facilities Proving the Value of Telehealth

  • Skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) are employing telehealth platforms in an attempt to reduce re-hospitalization—a critical goal during the pandemic.
  • Before incorporating telehealth, nurses at Falls Village Skilled Nursing & Rehabilitation in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio had to call a physician when a patient exhibited signs of decline and explain the situation as thoroughly as possible via telephone, leading to delays and an imperfect picture of the symptoms.
  • Now, a physician can see the patient within the hour via a telemedicine cart with real-time audio and visual capabilities and mHealth enabled diagnostic equipment.
  • This new process has significantly reduced the number of re-hospitalizations and is being incorporated into daily care management as well.
  • Read the full story here.

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