Implementing Telehealth in Your Practice: COVID-19 Emergency : CMA

Telehealth continues to deliver value in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic by allowing physicians to see patients safely and limit the spread of the virus. Additionally, federal and state waivers, guidance and directives now enable physicians to get reimbursed fairly for telehealth visits, practices.    

TELEHEALTH was struggling to become a routine feature of medical care only a month ago. Flash forward to today.  The state of telehealth has changed immeasurably. How did that occur?  In the past telehealth struggled to survive due to reimbursement issues with payers and medicare.

COVID 19 pandemic happened in early January in the United States.  Medical facilities, emergency rooms, and hospitals quickly became overrun, along with shortages in PPE and sanitizers.  In several days stores were depleted of paper goods, sanitizers, and other disinfectants. Even today 3 months later store shelves lack many paper goods and sanitizers.

Long waits occur for ordering masks (N 95) online with delivery dates given as mid-May 2020. The situation changes from day to day and even hourly. The President declared a national emergency in order to source masks from suppliers, distributors, and a national stockpile. Promises have been given and promises were broken. Despite denials, politics have played a role.  Conflicting opinions from supposedly reliable sources add to the confusion.

Governors and the President ordered a national lockdown and shelter in the home to prevent further spread of the Covid infection.

Fortunately, despite telehealth's barriers, the infrastructure was already in place with many resources readily available. This is one of the rare occasions when technology was ahead of the need.

Many medical practices have no or little experience in telehealth.  The California Medical Association developed a protocol and training module for physicians in California.

CMA Physician Services has also updated its telehealth implementation webpage with additional guidance.  

Telehealth Implementation

Covid 19 Telehealth Toolkit

Covid 19 Resources

COVID-19: Frequently Asked Questions

Implementing Telehealth in Your Practice: COVID-19 Emergency: CMA