Imagine this, an 86-year-old with severe conditions such as heart disease and a cancer diagnosis — needing to stay indoors, because according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), he or she is at higher risk for getting the worse of COVID-19. The patient’s need for care doesn’t evaporate… How can you ensure he or she gets the care they need?
It’s simpler than you think. Telehealth can be an indispensable tool in the wake of our coronavirus pandemic. With 8 out of 10 deaths being elderly patients, now is an opportune time to offer telehealth services.
You don’t have to go at this alone, though. There are plenty of resources available to you.
Medicare Telehealth Expansion for Coronavirus
Older patients can receive FREE coverage of virtual visits with you and other health care providers right now. But this change is temporary and only for this pandemic crisis period as of now. The services covered include initial evaluation and follow-up, mental health counseling, and other preventative screening services.
Older patients don’t have to place themselves in harm’s way by attempting to show up in your office. Plus, you and your staff won’t be exposed to a potential carrier of coronavirus.
Some extra benefits include coverage of:
- Virtual check-ins through phone, email, and secure text messages
- Online portal access
- Rural patient visits using real-time audio and video chats
Telehealth visits cost between $40-$50. You can save your older patients an undue financial burden by allowing virtual access to care. Plus, with telehealth, you can see more patients than you can do with in-office visits alone since telehealth visits are often shorter.
Virtual Care of Coronavirus
Let’s be clear. Doctors can’t make a diagnosis of COVID-19 via telehealth visits.
But, the American Telemedicine Association, recommends doctors offer patients:
- Self-care and quarantine advice
- Education on when to get into a hospital
- Information on coordinating testing (if needed)
Are you ready to adopt this fresh wave of healthcare, help patients in NEED, and grow your practice?
Navigate Telehealth Demand Spikes
Patients around the world desire affordable and accessible care. In the U.S., the cost of these services has been a huge hurdle for telehealth adoption. Also, insurers haven’t covered telehealth services. But now changes are being made across the board. The benefits to providers and patients from using telehealth is clear.
With people social distancing in their homes nowadays because of coronavirus, the demand for telehealth has skyrocketed. So, how can you get started providing telehealth services to your patients?
Fortunately, the American Medical Association has put together a useful guide to help you fast track this process. If you want more information about coronavirus and its impact on your older patients with Medicare — check out the Center for Medicaid and Medicare Services website.
The Bottom Line
As patient preferences evolve — it’s only right doctors and other health care providers evolve their practice alongside it. Today, there’s an enormous opportunity to use telehealth services to assist our most vulnerable patients (the elderly and ill) during this coronavirus outbreak and beyond. Have you implemented telehealth in your practice? Let us know how it went in the comments.