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Telehealth and Medicare during the Coronavirus Public Health Emergency

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H.R. 6074 (“Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2020”) is an $8.3 billion COVID-19 funding package that was signed into law on March 6, 2020, to address issues that arise during the coronavirus public health emergency. H.R.6074 includes a provision to temporarily lift restrictions and implement the wider use of telehealth services by Medicare beneficiaries.

These new policies for telehealth Medicare beneficiaries will take effect after the waiver is implemented by the Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary, Alex Azar:

  1. The patient is no longer required to live in a rural community to receive services
  2. Expansion of telehealth Medicare services to include:
  1. Care by a qualified professional who has an established same location relationship with a patient, or by one who works in the same practice as a professional who has a previous same location relationship
  2. Allowing patients to stay in their home and receive telehealth services, in lieu of patient having to drive to an approved medical facility
  3. Patients can engage in video or two-way phone (such as a smartphone which includes both video and audio) for real-time interactive communications with providers

By temporarily expanding Medicare telehealth services, these patients who are elderly (and more vulnerable to the COVID-19 virus) will be able to experience continuity of care with their known providers as well as avoiding public spaces and the potential spread of the virus. Commercial insurance companies are encouraging patients to use telehealth, waiving co-pays, and expanding reimbursements to providers in response to the emergency. Each state must also consider its own legislation regarding telehealth during the public health coronavirus emergency.

HIPAA laws are fully applicable to telehealth services. Medicare participants using telehealth services (smartphones in particular) in this time of emergency may not have adequate technology, programs, or applications in place to adhere to established HIPPA laws. As an urgent countermeasure, it is possible that the HHS Secretary Azar may loosen those HIPAA requirements with regard to smartphone telehealth services that are provided during this public emergency.

The message is clear – the public health emergency brought about by the COVID-19 virus will expand the use of telehealth services by necessity in order to protect patients and caregivers. Temporary changes have been implemented in order to face the growing needs of the Medicare demographic, regardless of their geographic location or previous restrictions placed on of telehealthcare.

1 comment

  • Comment Link Jasmeen Whitley Wednesday, 25 March 2020 14:19 posted by Jasmeen Whitley

    Would like more information

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Course was very informative!
David Hopkins
MS, LPC / Thriveworks Woodstock
Informative and brief
Tracy Gilbert
Well designed. informative, comprehensive program broken down into manageable segments.
Dawn M. Miskus
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This course offered a great overview of TeleMental Health and the important considerations that should be addressed when establishing an online practice.
Helen Geris
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Wonderful and approachable presenter, great information!
Sabrina Eads
I have completed the course requirements. Thank you a great program of videos and information.
Linda Lovisi-Dwyer
LCSW-R / Linda Lovisi-Dwyer, LCSW-R
Good introduction
Sylvia D. Jessup, MBA, MA
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Very clear emergency planning laid out in this course, Helpful for many situation and settings.
Jane Schindler
The course was detailed.
Kelly Villarreal
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EXCELLENT PRESENTATION
DAVID F. CIAMPI, Ph.D., LMHC.
Really chuck full of information and very helpful
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social work
Great course!
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Ray's program is engaging and informative. I'm excited to extend my professional reach online.
Pamela Madsen
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Very informative session.

Valrey Richards-Lucas

Video was good, a little slow

Jessica Walraven

This is great material!

Erika T Johnson

Very Informative!!!!

DALAYNA MILLER

Really good training so far!

Erika T Johnson
LAC

Excellent information, extremely generous resources and so well paced. I am really grateful.

Carolyn Spencer
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Very thorough and informative

DALAYNA MILLER

This program is very informative and easy to use.

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Love the convenience and easy-to-understand information in this course.

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Very informative. Help give an overview of tele therapy and starting an online practice.

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The course was easy to follow and provided a lot of valuable insight into the benefits and limitations to teletherapy.

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Wonderfully compact and rich in information, many areas i had not even considered!

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Very informative and guiding in educating all that you need to grasp to be properly compliant and aware.
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A great overview for telehealth, including state to state
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Great presentation!

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Oustanding presentation!!!
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Helpful and inviting information to get started. Feel empowered to get this going and eager to start!

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Well presented, easy to access and understand.

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This was very informative.

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This course was full of detailed information, that I will utilize in my practice. I highly recommend this training to all interested in adding to their existing practice or transitioning to Telehealth Services.
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Class was informative.
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Great training!
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Ray was a wonderful, interactive instructor who really captured the heart of counseling in the world of Telehealth. The course was thorough and beneficial. Two thumbs up!
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Ray does a spectacular job presenting the ethics in technology! Thank you!
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I thought the video was very informative and gave me a good back ground on Telehealth , hippa laws and things I needed to know to run an ethical and hippa complent practice .
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I believe this is a good course to take because this is the new wave of society. As a therapist I would like to be able to offer clients the best tools available.

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Thank you for the introduction to telemental health.

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Very good.

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Really excellent training full of valuable information and resources - surpassed my expectations!

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Great information with step by step instructions

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What a superb introduction to telemental health, well organized and packed with useful tips. I so appreciate this. Thank you.

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Awesome job! This is a very insightful presentation.

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An excellent course, but needs more legal information regarding where the patient needs to reside.

Barry Barmann
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This legal course was phenomenal saturated with much detail and clarity!
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Great and very informative! Will help me take my skills to a new level. Gave me a great idea of how the session should go.
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Course provided several case scenarios regarding Interstate counseling and resource websites for further research.

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Course provided additional information regarding the legal aspects of TeleMental Health.
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I have completed prior training by Raymond and greatly appreciate his detailed and thorough trainings.
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This course was most helpful in helping me make my practice more compliant for me and my clients.
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Very Informative

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Easy to learn and easy to follow. User friendly on-line course.
Kelly Johnson
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Awesome

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This was a phenomenal training and necessary for the continued growth of all helping professionals. This will certainly improve the manner in which I conduct counseling.
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This training was extremely informative and supportive for professionals looking to gain further knowledge in Telemental health.
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I found this video to be very informative and helpful.
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Great course, very informative!

Ashley Simmons
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Love the course, worth every penny!!! Definitely helped jump start my Tele-mental health services!

Nakia Clark
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This gave me and my staff some important insights and information regarding telehealth..

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This course was easy and user friendly

Vanessa Reiser
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It was fantastic! Just the forms he provides are worth the cost of the course!

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This was an excellent class and worth my time.  Ray provided great information and is clearly an expert in TMH!

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I found these courses informative and helpful. They make establishing best practices policies and procedures for telemental health services and supervising those who provide them. so much easier. I highly recommend his courses.

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Ray's workshop was one of the most informative I have taken in years. He brought clarity to took a topic which has been intimidating and I left feeling empowered!

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