Recuro Applauds 2 Year Extension of Telehealth Flexibilities
As we all witnessed the meteoric rise of telehealth during the pandemic, it was evident that flexibility in getting Medicare reimbursement for the services was a key factor. But those flexibilities were set to expire five months after the pandemic health emergency ends.
However, the anticipated passage of new legislation will ensure that the flexibilities will remain in place for two years. The goal is to give regulators more time to determine which flexibilities should be made permanent and we have every expectation that will happen.
“This is a great win for all Americans, including all of us in the virtual care industry who are ardent proponents of telehealth as well as patients who will benefit from timely, improved access to virtual primary and urgent care, behavioral health and other integrated solutions,” says Michael Gorton, CEO, Recuro Health. “Kudos to all those legislators who brought this to reality.”
Now, the waivers will remain in place through Dec. 31, 2024, if the legislation passes both the House and Senate and is enacted into law.
The flexibilities include eliminating geographic restrictions on originating sites for telehealth services, enabling Medicare beneficiaries to receive services from any location, and allowing federally qualified health centers and rural health centers to continue providing telehealth services.
A Win for Tele-Behavioral Health
Further, the waivers lift the initial in-person care requirements for those receiving mental healthcare through telehealth and allow for continued coverage of audio-only telehealth services.
The safe harbor for telehealth coverage for those with high deductible health plans (HDHPs) with health savings accounts (HSAs) will also be extended by two years if the new bill passes. The safe harbor provision enables people with HDHP-HSAs to receive telehealth coverage without meeting their annual deductible first.
Positive Impact on Virtual Primary Care
The extension of telehealth flexibilities addresses today’s economic and employee benefits environment where Virtual Primary Care (VPC) is rapidly gaining the interest and adoption among health plan sponsors and associated decision-makers. Payers are seeking to provide comprehensive, quality health care services with greater enabled access and ability to resolve barriers to care due to social determinants of health (SDOH). “Anytime, Anywhere” VPC access to a clinician overcomes transportation barriers, a key determinant, especially for people living in rural communities with long drive times to reach a hospital or brick-and-mortar physician office.
VPC accommodates not only self insured employees, but also under and uninsured workers. This modern healthcare delivery experience is tailored specifically to complex medical realities: the primary care needs of an exploding population coupled with a shortage of primary care physicians; a demand for more convenient access to care; and ever-increasing measures to reduce costs. These challenges are powerfully addressed by VPC, a beneficial evolution of telemedicine that is a true digital health solution.
VPC offers a holistic, “whole person” approach to acute and preventative care to achieve optimal health. A well-designed benefits plan offering VPC provides comprehensive services including virtual urgent care, behavioral health, in-home diagnostics including labs and device data, and prescription benefits. Therefore, this presents an opportunity to enhance condition and care management, reduce exacerbations resulting in lowered cost of care, and to close gaps in coverage and remove barriers to care.
Learn how the addition of VPC makes sense from quality, cost and access perspectives. We would like to share more on Recuro’s VBH capabilities that our VPC platform brings to payers and their member experience. Please visit www.recurohealth.com or [email protected] for a virtual demo.