As the coronavirus pandemic strains our communities and we collectively try to mitigate its spread, many practices are considering the use of virtual office visits.
You can feel secure in the fact that your MDAdvantage coverage has you protected.
Physicians should always aim to provide the same standard of care in a virtual setting as in your office setting. As long as you are following all applicable state laws, your MDAdvantage coverage protects you just as it does for normal practice activities, pursuant to the terms of your MDAdvantage policy.
Please remember to document clearly in your patients’ medical records their verbal understanding of a telemedicine visit and their consent to utilize telemedicine during this pandemic. All documentation regarding the patient visit should meet the same standards as an in-person visit.
The Office for Civil Rights at HHS announced it will exercise its enforcement discretion and will not impose penalties for noncompliance with the regulatory requirements under the HIPAA Privacy Rule against covered healthcare providers in connection with the good-faith provision of telehealth during the COVID-19 nationwide public health emergency. This allows health professional to utilize a large variety of non-public facing telecommunications tools to treat patients remotely even if such tools are not fully HIPAA compliant.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced it will temporarily pay clinicians to provide telehealth services for beneficiaries residing across the entire country. This decision waives many limitations on the type of health professionals who may provide telehealth services and the locations in which the care may be provided or received.
The HHS Office of Inspector General issued a policy statement that healthcare providers will not be subject to administrative sanctions for reducing or waiving any cost-sharing obligations beneficiaries of federal healthcare programs may owe for telehealth services.
Congress passed the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act (H.R. 6074) that provides the Secretary of HHS the ability to waive Medicare requirements in order to allow for increased use of telemedicine services during an emergency.