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Insights Report: The Cost of Expanding Telehealth; Future-Proofing Healthcare; Telehealth and Disabilities, & More

Congress Expands Telehealth – But Will It Affect Other Health Initiatives?Fast Company

Congress recently passed its 2022 spending bill, which expanded coverage of telehealth services under CMS. This marks a big win for telehealth companies and the more than 130 million patients who rely on Medicare and Medicaid. The provision extends coverage 151 days after the public health emergency ends in April. It adds audiology, OT, PT, and speech pathology to its list of reimbursable telehealth services.

However, some experts warn as more telehealth services become covered by insurers, it may negatively affect other health initiatives. Over the next year, the Medicare Payment Advisor Commission will study the impact of telehealth services on patients and will assess whether it diminishes the use of care.

Key quote: “It’s a positive sign that Congress is starting to realize the value of telehealth service. Now we have to move that temporary interest into a more permanent structure,” says Nicol Turner Lee, director of the Center for Technology Innovation.

How People with Disabilities Are Being Left Behind by TelemedicineCNN

Divya Goel, a 35-year-old deaf-blind woman in Orlando, had two telemedicine appointments during the pandemic. She was denied an interpreter during both sessions. Her doctors told her she would have to get insurance to pay for an interpreter, which is incorrect. Under federal law, it is the physician’s responsibility to provide one.

She worries about the medical ramifications – such as getting the wrong medicine or treatment – if something gets lost in translation. The CEO of the National Association of the Deaf said the American with Disabilities Act and other disabilities statutes are violated when healthcare providers do not offer telemedicine technology with captioning or interpreters.

Study Shows That by 2025, 75% of Healthcare Professionals Will Leave the Profession Unless Healthcare is Future-ProofedForbes

The pandemic exacerbated the already high rate of burnout among healthcare professionals. Healthcare workers thought that vaccines would ease the stress, but instead they saw continued waves of patients with one variant after another. In a new report from Elsevier Health, if things don’t change soon, up to 75% of current healthcare clinicians will leave the field of medicine by 2025. The multiphase report not only analyzes how the healthcare system is faring after the COVID pandemic, but where it needs to be in 10 years to ensure that both providers and patients are satisfied.

Study Finds More COVID Deaths Reported in US Counties with Lower Internet AccessFox News

A recent study found that U.S. communities with limited internet access had higher COVID-19 mortality rates during the first full year of the pandemic. University of Chicago authors wrote that places with more limited internet access had between 2.4 and six preventable deaths per 100,000 people, depending on whether they were rural, suburban or urban.

Four indexes were used to measure multiple dimensions of social determinants of health (SDOH):

  1. Socioeconomic advantage index
  2. Limited mobility index
  3. Urban core opportunity index
  4. Mixed immigrant cohesion and accessibility index.

FCC to Authorize $640M for Broadband ExpansionmHealthIntelligence

The FCC plans to authorize more than $640 million to support new broadband deployments in 26 states, which will help boost access to virtual health. The new deployments will bring broadband access to approximately 250,000 locations. Expanded access will help address internet connectivity issues, which are often cited as one of the key challenges to accessing virtual care. In a 2021 survey, 45% of adults said that access to technology, including broadband and computers, is a barrier to telehealth. These issues, particularly impacted rural residents and adults over the age of 65.

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