Telehealth Post Covid-19 Expectations

Congress is beginning to focus on telehealth post-Covid19 with a sense of urgency. Recently, a hearing entitled, Telehealth: Lessons from the Covid-19 Pandemic, examined which changes in regulations should be maintained, modified or reversed.

Dr. Karen Rheuban, External Affairs Director for the University of Virginia Center for Telehealth, says, “The simplest and most important step would be for Congress to give the HHS Secretary the authority to make permanent the telehealth changes made during the public emergency”. The relaxation of some federal rules regarding reimbursement and licensure are set to expire at the end of the ongoing public health crisis. A majority of healthcare industry analysts fully expect that HHS (particularly under the incoming administration) will ease some of the regulations permanently.

A recent survey from Tridiuum found that 81% of behavioral health providers began utilizing telehealth for the first time in the last six months and 70% plan on continuing the usage of virtual therapy as an option. Still, there is a downside for many patients. Any type of therapy that is not face to face could remove a vitally important means of communication such as facial expressions, tones of voice, body language and gestures. Utilizing teletherapy is a very personal decision.

Source: Gary R’nel

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