Medicare will pay for telehealth services: Seema Verma

Seema Verma

Washington: The American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) organized a webinar on the impact of Covid-19 pandemic on healthcare in the United States on May 2 with an eminent  panel of speakers.  

 The keynote speaker was Seema Verma, Administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) overseeing a $1 trillion federal budget. Addressing the AAPI members on the emergence of Telehealth,  she said, “Federal Health has made it easier with equal pay for in person and tele-health services.” While praising  the sacrifices of the healthcare professionals across the nation who have helped to reduce the coronavirus trend, she said that CMS has helped 340 million people during this epidemic.

Telehealth is a critical response to the need and the Trump administration has taken it to unprecedented levels, Seema Verma told the doctors. “Medicare recently expanded its coverage of telehealth services. Telehealth enables beneficiaries to receive a wider range of healthcare services from doctors without having to travel to a healthcare facility. It also helps frontline clinicians stay safe themselves while treating people,” she said.

Dr. Humayun J. Chaudhry talked about FSMB Pandemic Preparedness Task Force, established on February 25, 2020, and said, “The states and territories have shown  flexibility by temporarily waiving or modifying licensure requirements for International Medical Graduates (IMGs) allowing them to serve the people affected by the pandemic.

Dr. Michael C. Stinson, Vice President of Government Relations and Public Policy for the Medical Professional Liability Association, said, New York is ahead on this issue, offering healthcare protection on Good Samaritan Provision, allowing all Physicians practicing within the state to have protection against liability. “We hope it expands to the whole nation. While these emergency proclamations could expire after the pandemic is over, we are hoping to have it expanded beyond Covid,” he said.

In his vote of thanks Dr. Suresh Reddy, President of AAPI, while expressing gratitude to the panelists and speakers, said, “As a result of COVID-19, Telehealth was rapidly implemented and has been utilized now more than ever before. There have been much needed changes to HIPAA guidelines and relaxing interstate medical licensing requirements, broader legal liability coverage in some states, CMS has addressed Telehealth reimbursement, and much more. Health care in the USA was transformed almost overnight as we faced this existential threat to our health.”

Image courtesy of thesatimes |

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