Joint Commission Offers Telehealth Accreditation for UC

Joint Commission Offers Telehealth Accreditation for UC

The Joint Commission recently announced a new telehealth accreditation program (TEL) applicable to eligible hospitals and ambulatory care providers, including urgent cares. The TEL program requirements will be released this month with formal applications opening on July 1, 2024. New telehealth-specific requirements include: streamlined emergency management to address remote care rather than in a physical building; new standards for telehealth provider and patient education about the use of telehealth platforms and devices; and new standards …

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Optum Set to Close Down Virtual Care

Optum Set to Close Down Virtual Care

On a recent conference call, Optum notified some employees that its virtual care division will cease operations in July, according to Becker’s Health IT. Optum Virtual Care launched in 2021 and covers all 50 states. At UnitedHealth’s investor conference in November, Optum’s CEO implied that virtual care is a crowded market, and more recently, employees on social media have reported a significant workforce reduction at Optum, ranging from nurse case managers to senior director and …

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Children’s LA Opens Virtual Urgent Care

Children’s LA Opens Virtual Urgent Care

Children’s Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA) has launched a new virtual urgent care service specifically for children and young adults up to 21 years old who need after-hours medical attention for non-emergency conditions, according to MobiHealth News. The platform connects patients with CHLA healthcare providers for presentations such as fever, respiratory infections, vomiting, minor eye issues, allergies, bruises, cuts and scrapes. The telehealth providers can offer discharge instructions, send prescriptions to pharmacies, and recommend a referral …

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Hackensack Integrates UC, Behavioral Health

Hackensack Integrates UC, Behavioral Health

In New Jersey, Hackensack Meridian Health is now offering its HMH Urgent Care, which integrates behavioral health with same-day urgent care and telemedicine visits. According to Becker’s Hospital Review, it’s the first urgent care that simultaneously provides both immediate medical care and services for psychiatric conditions as part of a strategy to reduce emergency department visits. The HMH Urgent Care suite includes short-term outpatient care for those 16 years and older to address anxiety, depression, mood …

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Drug Company Launches DTC Model for Weight Loss Prescriptions

Drug Company Launches DTC Model for Weight Loss Prescriptions

Pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly just launched its own telehealth website where patients can access physician appointments and the prescription drug tirzepatide (Mounjaro and Zepbound) for weight loss. The new LillyDirect platform also offers free home-delivery service, but it will not provide discounts on tirzepatide. As described in a news story in People, Mounjaro is approved to treat type 2 diabetes, and Zepbound is approved to treat obesity, each with a list price of more than $1,000 for a …

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Telemedicine Leads to Referrals

Telemedicine Leads to Referrals

A recent JAMA Network Open Viewpoint article explored the frustrations resulting from the expiration of temporary regulatory changes that were implemented by almost all states to allow physicians to provide telehealth across state lines during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. With the end of the public health emergency, many licensing waivers ended as well. Some argue that licensure should remain under control of the state while others advocate for a single federal license or full …

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Thinking Outside the Box to Bring Urgent Care to the Patient

Thinking Outside the Box to Bring Urgent Care to the Patient

Alan A. Ayers, MBA, Macc Urgent Message: Urgent care is a consumer-driven phenomenon, and physician entrepreneurs continue to evolve the delivery of urgent care services in response to changing consumer preferences, both inside and beyond the brick-and-mortar facility. Citation: Ayers A. Thinking outside the box to bring urgent care to the patient. J Urgent Care Med. 2024;18(4): 31-33. While unregulated by most states, the term “urgent care” historically has come to mean a base offering …

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Patients Less Likely to Follow Up After Telehealth Visits

Patients Less Likely to Follow Up After Telehealth Visits

Your follow-up recommendation for a patient seen with a telehealth visit is often a diagnostic test or specialty referral. Completion of those follow-up recommendations—“diagnostic loop closure”—seems to be lacking, according to a study in JAMA Network Open. The study involved 4,133 diagnostic tests and referrals (colonoscopies, cardiac stress tests, and dermatology referrals) from March 2020 through December 2021 at 2 primary care sites. Results showed that 58% of in-person visit orders were completed within the …

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Walgreens Launches Direct Urgent Care Business

Walgreens Launches Direct Urgent Care Business

Retail pharmacy giant Walgreens is intensifying its expansion into provider services by launching virtual care in nine states that represent a large swath of its existing customer base, according to Fierce Healthcare. The on-demand telehealth service will cover common health needs, including urgent care services. Patients can schedule virtual consultations with healthcare professionals via chat or video. Notably, Walgreens will not accept insurance for these visits with most chat encounters priced at $33 and video …

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