Congress Opens the Door to Extend Reimbursement for Telehealth Services

Congress Opens the Door to Extend Reimbursement for Telehealth Services

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 …

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Follow-up: The Pandemic Telehealth Spike May Have Been Higher Than You Thought

Follow-up: The Pandemic Telehealth Spike May Have Been Higher Than You Thought

Just last week we told you that shares of telehealth companies were freefalling in the wake of a dip in usage—likely a course correction following the spike in use of remote care during the darkest days of the COVID-19 pandemic. Now FAIR Health has released data revealing just how steep that spike was: In 2020, as utilization fell in emergency rooms (a 30% drop) and urgent care centers (16%), use of telehealth grew 7,000% in …

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Has Telemedicine’s ‘Moment’ Come and Gone?

Has Telemedicine’s ‘Moment’ Come and Gone?

As JUCM News readers may recall, use of telemedicine services has increased dramatically—and fallen precipitously—at various times during the course of the COVID-19 pandemic. Some urgent care operators have tried to ride the wave, while others have continued to act (or not act) based on their skepticism of the medium’s viability in the urgent care setting. Now it appears that the investment community may be weighing in with its collective opinion on the future of …

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Wrong Number? Telemedicine May Actually Increase the Likelihood of Reporting to the ED

Wrong Number? Telemedicine May Actually Increase the Likelihood of Reporting to the ED

Proponents of telemedicine have reasoned that being able to see a healthcare provider virtually is more convenient and less expensive than trudging over to the closest emergency room, where a patient is likely to sit for hours and run up an astronomical bill for something simple like a sore throat. While the latter may be true (as urgent care professionals are well aware), a new study published by JAMA Network Open suggests that telehealth usage …

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We Know Racial Inequities Exist in Urgent Care. Can Telemedicine Be Part of the Solution?

We Know Racial Inequities Exist in Urgent Care. Can Telemedicine Be Part of the Solution?

It’s no secret that disparities exist between the accessibility and quality of care afforded to various economic and racial groups in the United States. We don’t need to look any further than the COVID-19 pandemic for evidence of that, as immunization and testing rates have generally been lower among people of color compared with white individuals. Paradoxically, the pandemic may provide the impetus for positive change in healthcare inequities, as well as a new opportunity …

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Update: A Deeper Dive Confirms Telemedicine Use Waxes and Wanes Along with COVID-19

Update: A Deeper Dive Confirms Telemedicine Use Waxes and Wanes Along with COVID-19

Recently, we shared data indicating that use of telemedicine appears to be on the decline following a brief period of increased utilization. Now an article published by JAMA Network confirms that those fluctuations tracked along with the COVID-19 pandemic, while also shedding light on who was drawn to virtual visits when in-person care seemed too daunting to some patients. Specifically, data from the IQVIA National Disease and Therapeutic Index showed that 77% of telehealth “visits” …

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Is the Pandemic Telehealth Boom About to Go Bust?

Is the Pandemic Telehealth Boom About to Go Bust?

It’s always been hard to get a good read on how telehealth would ultimately fare in the urgent care industry. There have been proponents who argued that anything that increases access to medical care—which telehealth does, undeniably—would ultimately be good for the patient and any operator smart enough to seize the opportunity. Others have argued (also logically) that a virtual visit can lack some of the nuances that are so essential in making the right …

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Thinking This Is a Good Time to Try Telehealth? Don’t Leave Yourself Open to Cyberattack

Thinking This Is a Good Time to Try Telehealth? Don’t Leave Yourself Open to Cyberattack

Regular readers of JUCM News know telehealth has been on the rise among urgent care centers for the past year. It’s been so popular across the healthcare spectrum during the pandemic that the federal government just extended certain waivers, such as approving the right of patients to “see” providers in states other than their own, during the current public health emergency. If you’re thinking this would be a great time to dip your toe in …

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Telehealth Has Been Booming During the Pandemic—so Waivers Have Been Extended

Telehealth Has Been Booming During the Pandemic—so Waivers Have Been Extended

Telehealth accounted for 5.6% of medical claims in October 2020—compared with 0.18% of claims in October 2019, according to FAIR Health’s Monthly Telehealth Regional Tracker. Given that cases of COVID-19 are climbing again, it’s unlikely the volume of virtual visits and ensuing claims will go down anytime soon. Consequently, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has extended COVID-19’s status as a public health emergency, and with it key waivers for telehealth until April …

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What One Early Adopter Has Learned About Telehealth—and How It Could Help You as the Pandemic Stretches On

What One Early Adopter Has Learned About Telehealth—and How It Could Help You as the Pandemic Stretches On

Regular readers of JUCM and JUCM News know that telehealth seems ideally suited for urgent care, but that relatively few operators have seen great success with it—or even tried it at all. The COVID-19 pandemic has forced some to give it another look, however, as many patients were hesitant to leave the house for relatively minor healthcare complaints early on. If you’re still on the fence, it might be helpful to know what Intermountain Healthcare …

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