The COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (PHE) ending on May 11th, 2023, brought about a sigh of relief for many, but it also raised questions about how telehealth will be regulated going forward. This blog post will discuss the rules and guidelines set in place following the end of the PHE and what they mean for telehealth.
How the End of the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency Impacts Telehealth
Since the COVID-19 pandemic forced a shift to telehealth services, some regulatory requirements were put in place to ensure accessible healthcare throughout quarantine. As a result of the waning number of cases, however, some of these requirements have been modified or changed entirely. For some sectors of telehealth, the government has made extensions and accommodations to regulations through the end of this year. For others, there will be changes implemented going forward. These go forward changes will include:
HIPAA Compliance Required for All Telehealth Platforms
New regulations will soon require all telehealth platforms to comply with HIPAA. The use of compliant tools ensures patient privacy and security during remote consultations. Providers must remain compliant to avoid potential violations and penalties.
Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Extensions for Existing Health Centers
Rural Health Clinics (RHCs) & Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) are extended until the end of 2024, while REHs are now eligible Medicare-originating sites for telehealth. This helps patients access care in rural areas and expands telehealth options, making it vital to maintain these extensions beyond the pandemic.
Maintaining Wide Availability of Existing Telehealth Services
Despite the end of the PHE, Medicare will still allow patients to receive telehealth services for behavioral health in any part of the US. This includes various services, such as counseling and psychiatric evaluations, which can be conducted remotely from the comfort of a patient’s home.
Telehealth Flexibility Waivers
Telehealth flexibility waivers, such as geographic and originating site restrictions, have been extended until the end of next year to ensure Medicare patients can still utilize telehealth services from their homes. This will enhance access to remote healthcare services, save time and cost, and improve public health outcomes.
Availability of Hospice Care
Hospice care providers can still recertify patients for eligibility through 2024. This allows for continued access to end-of-life care for those in need, even if they cannot visit a hospice facility physically. Telehealth remains an option for hospice providers to conduct assessments and consultations with patients and their families.
Remote Patient Monitoring (RPM) Services Extended to New Patients
Remote patient monitoring services are now available to new patients at the PHE’s end. Providers are encouraged to provide evaluations to these patients, expanding access to care following the end of the PHE.
Medicare Payment Obligations
Healthcare providers offering telehealth or Remote Patient Monitoring (RPM) (RPM? Can we have the full term on this one?) services to Medicare beneficiaries must now ensure they have a platform that supports payment capabilities. As of May 11, providers can no longer reduce or waive any cost-sharing obligations patients owe for these services. Providers must obtain a tool that will enable them to comply with these regulations.
Why SecureVideo Continues to be the Telehealth Tool of Choice for Providers
SecureVideo provides a fully HIPAA-compliant telehealth platform that is tailor-made to cater to the diverse needs of medical practitioners, behavioral health providers, hospice providers, and more.
Because our platform includes advanced features such as integrated payment capabilities, group behavioral health therapy sessions, patient evaluations on demand, and stability for those seeking telehealth care in rural areas, SecureVideo is becoming the preferred telehealth tool for healthcare providers who want to offer high-quality care while following the new rules being instituted for the telehealth sector.
Contact us today to learn how SecureVideo can help you provide exceptional telehealth care in the wake of a new era in healthcare.