Last week, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai proposed a $200 million investment to encourage telehealth implementation. The commission unanimously approved the proposal on Thursday.
The Necessity for Telehealth Investment
The COVID-19 pandemic has made providing telehealth services a top priority for hospitals and clinics.
Prior to the global spread of the virus, CMS restricted coverage of telehealth services to patients in rural areas. Additionally, regulations limited the platforms practices could use for virtual visits.
In mid-March, CMS and HIPAA introduced new policies to relax these restrictions in light of social distancing and stay-at-home orders designed to limit the spread of the disease. These changes include a wide range of CPT codes now approved for telehealth use. HIPAA has also said it will exercise discretion for use of consumer video conferencing platforms during the public health emergency.
This program from the FCC further encourages adoption and implementation of telemedicine.
Funding Eligibility for Telehealth Implementation
Chairman Pai called the program “a critical tool to address this national emergency.”
Currently, eligibility for FCC funding is limited to public and non-profit health care providers. Organizations ranging from academic hospitals to community clinics to nursing homes can apply. The FCC will review these applications on a rolling basis.
An additional $100 million three-year pilot program has also been approved, designed to offset the costs of telehealth services provided to veteran and low-income patients. The FCC has also limited this program to public and non-profit health care providers.
BrainCheck Can Help Practices Provide Remote Cognitive Care
Despite the COVID-19 crisis, providing regular care remains in important.
The BrainCheck platform allows physicians to assess patients’ cognitive health remotely, offers clinical decision support, and can assist in creating cognitive care plans. Also, practices can get reimbursed for using BrainCheck with codes deemed eligible for telehealth, including CPT 96132, CPT 96136, CPT 96138, and CPT 99483.