We Should Keep Expanding Telehealth, Even After the Pandemic
Now, with the end of the pandemic hopefully within sight, some state and federal lawmakers are looking to keep those arbitrary and nonsensical restrictions from coming back into force.
Sens. Brian Schatz (D–Hawaii) and Tim Scott (R–S.C.) on Tuesday introduced a bill to abolish some particularly silly Medicare restrictions on telehealth that effectively prevent many older Americans from taking advantage of the option to consult with a doctor from the comfort of home. Under Medicare’s existing “geographic and originating site” rules, patients can only use telehealth services if they live in an area defined as having a shortage of health professionals by the Department of Health and Human Services. Even sillier, the rule requires that Medicare patients can only use telehealth services from an existing medical clinic or doctor’s office—which means you have to leave home and drive to a doctor’s office in order to use a webcam to chat with a doctor in a different office.
As a result, most of America’s 61 million Medicare recipients—many of whom are elderly and may have difficulty leaving home—are completely cut-off from one of the best ways that modern technology helps deliver vital services. It’s not the 1980s anymore, but Medicare forces senior citizens to get medical treatment as if it were.
Those restrictions were lifted on a temporary basis due to COVID-19, but Schatz and Scott are right to want them gone for good. In annou
Article from Latest – Reason.com