Telemonitoring during COVID-19 and Beyond
Get resourceful with Telemonitoring
New temporary changes to federal regulations are meant to help you do that. COVID-19 has forced systems to move from strategic growth in one program direction to now serving every patient. It’s important to have discussions on the best ways to quickly scale up and reach more people. Think of how to use telephones, texting, and how to reach patients who have not consented to using these modes of communication before. Consider web-based and link-based services providers can use to easily expand to reach more people.
Telemonitoring is not one size fits all
Telemonitoring technology needs will look different based on a facility or practices need. If you have specific questions, the Telehealth Technology Assessment Center is a good resource for questions about technology related to telehealth. It’s important to think about what your specific tech needs will be in the future. Many TRCs are working to expand their technology resources rapidly.
CMS relaxed the technology requirement of ‘secured and encrytped’ in order to assist providers to serve patients quickly. Due to the urgent need, everyday communication types, such as FaceTime and Skype are allowed without HIPAA penalty during this COVID-19 response. However, whenever possible, utilize secure, encrypted technologies to deliver telehealth now and into the future. It's also important to know that some states did not waive their HIPAA requirements.
Most platforms use end to end encryption, but if you’re choosing a new platform make sure to sign a business associates’ agreement to ensure that company will safe guard patient information. When choosing a platform think about its scalability for the short term. Is it reliable? Can if handle increasing traffic? Is it easy to use for people who are new to technology?
You still need to keep state regulations in mind
CCHP has a helpful interactive policy map that specifies state laws and reimbursement policies. The new regulations at the federal level apply to Medicare. Two big take aways are that geographic and site limitations are temporarily waived, so all geographic locations now qualify and other locations can act as originating sites. Who can be eligible providers did not change. While OCR has given guidance, state requirements for where you reside still apply. The webinar goes into reimbursement codes for different services.