On Thursday, March 19, 2020, Illinois Governor JB Pritzker announced an executive order to expand telehealth services in the state of IL in response to COVID-19. As the outbreak of the virus continues to grow in our communities, it is important that we practice social distancing, which is maintaining a safe distance of at least six feet away from people to minimize the spread of COVID-19.
Gov. Pritzker’s order mentions “the CDC is taking note of a need to reduce unnecessary healthcare visits and prevent transmission of respiratory viruses at healthcare facilities, currently recommends that healthcare providers increase the use of telehealth systems, formal or otherwise, to assess and care for patients to decrease the volume of persons seeking care in facilities.” In response to this, the Pritzker administration has significantly relaxed rules around telemedicine for both Medicaid and private insurers. This includes psychiatry, mental health treatment, substance use disorder treatment and related services to a client. He also ordered all health insurance issuers regulated by the Department of Insurance to cover the costs of all Telehealth Services rendered by in-network providers.
The spread of coronavirus and an increase in COVID-19 infection rates could put significant pressure on U.S. health resources. As more people seek treatment, and a growing number of workers and students are encouraged to stay home, telehealth will be more important as a safe, convenient, and cost-effective method of providing care for individuals who may be affected by coronavirus.
By making telehealth more available, people can access treatment in the comfort of their own home, which will dramatically decrease the spread of the virus. Telehealth can also help healthcare providers determine if the patient needs to seek medical attention at a hospital or urgent care clinic.
Although the coronavirus outbreak is still unfolding, it could have a long-lasting impact on the future of telehealth. The changes made to telehealth under this new measure could lead to more permanent changes in the way Medicare covers telehealth and remote monitoring devices.
Is now the time to launch your telehealth program? The right partner can help you launch your telehealth services, integrate them into your EHR, and create the best experience for you, your staff, and your clients. Contact Streamline Healthcare Solutions today to find out more information on implementing Telehealth Services in your agency.