CMS implemented new telehealth waivers that extend to Medicare and provide flexibility on who can receive telehealth services and where they can occur. Additionally, states have broad flexibility to cover telehealth services through Medicaid.
Due to the related relaxation of HIPAA violations and penalties during this crisis, telehealth communication can now be done over everyday communication devices with audio and/or visual capabilities (e.g., phone calls, FaceTime, Skype, etc.). The Office of Civil Rights will also waive HIPAA penalties for providers that “serve patients in good faith through everyday communication technologies.”
The FCC announced its COVID-19 Telehealth Program. The program assists providers in purchasing telecommunications, information services, and connected devices. Eligible providers will need to submit an application to receive the funds from the FCC. Applicants may be awarded up to $1 million from the FCC. The funds will be available until expended or the pandemic has ended, making it imperative for providers to submit their applications as soon as they become available.
Advis is striving to help healthcare providers understand these changes so they can provide care to people in immediate need right without risking exposure to COVID-19.