Urgent care operators who offer telehealth services should be aware that the House of Representatives just passed the Advancing Telehealth Beyond COVID-19 Act. As the name implies, the legislation extends policies initiated to help facilitate access to healthcare as many patients shied away from face-to-face encounters in medical facilities during the COVID-19 pandemic. Among those most applicable in the urgent care setting:
- Beneficiaries who fall under the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services can receive covered telehealth services at any site, regardless of the type or location
- Reimbursement is available for treating physicians, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants, in addition to clinical social workers, midwives, and registered dieticians
- Any provider who can currently bill Medicare for services can now bill for telemedicine services
- Remote monitoring via smart devices and apps, as well as audio-only telemedicine calls are covered under the act
- Federally qualified health centers and rural health clinics are included
The bill will have to pass through the Senate, as well, before being signed into law.