$25 Million Awarded in Telehealth Grants

Are you making the transition to telehealth but unsure about reimbursement?

In a dramatic effort to combat the spread of the coronavirus, the president has signed the aid package, Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2020, into public law as of March 6th, 2020.

This sweeping $8.3 billion spending bill is designed to support preventive efforts and vaccine research with financial resources going to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the CDC. A portion of that money is expected to be used to support telehealth services, which will help prevent overcrowding in hospitals as well as provide a safer treatment alternative for clients.

Though it’s being divvied into four distinct segments — each of which deals with rural, medically underserved communities in some capacity — the grant program’s allocation for the Telehealth Network Grant Program is the largest of the batch.

“The program helps these communities build the human, technical and financial capacity to improve the quality of health information available to providers, patients and their families,” the statement adds. “This program particularly encourages teleconnections to School Based Health Centers (SBHC) and all networks receiving this award include at least one SBHC.”

“The funding is spread out across 60 communities in 32 states to improve quality of care and research to advance understanding of the unique challenges in each community,” notes Heather Mack for MobiHealthNews.

Rural Telehealth Grants to ‘Help Individuals and Communities’ Access

What changes to telehealth policy have been implemented to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic?  (Updated: 3/27/2020)

  • As a result of the National Emergency, CMS is expanding Medicare’s telehealth benefits under the 1135 waiver authority and the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act. Visit the CMS Latest Emergencies page for updates.
  • CMS developed Medicare Telehealth Frequently Asked Questions (PDF – 112 KB, released 3/17/2020), to clarify telehealth services covered during the emergency. A range of healthcare providers, such as doctors, nurse practitioners, clinical psychologists, and licensed clinical social workers, and others, may offer telehealth to Medicare beneficiaries. Beneficiaries may receive telehealth services in any healthcare facility including a physician’s office, hospital, nursing home or rural health clinic, as well as from their own homes.
  • A FORHP-funded Telehealth Resource Center maintains a page dedicated to tracking telehealth coverage updates related to COVID-19 .
  • While the public health emergency remains in effect, DEA-registered practitioners may issue prescriptions for controlled substances to patients for whom they have not conducted an in-person medical evaluation, provided certain conditions are met. See DEA Telehealth Guidance.

How can health care providers get help to start or expand telehealth services for patients?

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