Telemedicine Changes Post-Public Health Emergency (PHE) Effective May 11, 2023
Situation: During the public health emergency (PHE), telemedicine was used as a way to allow for needed medical care to be provided without the need for in-person interactions that would put patients and healthcare providers at risk of COVID transmission. To allow for more use of telemedicine during the PHE, telemedicine rules/ requirements that precluded certain in-person interactions had to be addressed. They were addressed mainly by waivers from Medicare, the Office of Civil Rights (OCR), and the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA).
- Waived audio-video requirements for many telehealth services.
- Permitted telehealth services regardless of the geographic location of a patient and their provider.
- Expanded the list of healthcare professionals who were permitted to provide telehealth services.
- Enacted enforcement discretion for imposing penalties for HIPAA violations related to the good-faith provision of telehealth services.
- Temporarily removed the in-person medical evaluation required prior to prescribing controlled substances.
Issue: The last day of the PHE is May 11, 2023. Some of the telehealth waivers will end, some will remain, and some will remain for a temporary period. What should a provider do?
Solution: As soon as you can, implement the following steps.
- Identify those services that you’ve been providing and billing under a waiver.
- Determine which ones, if any, are extended (or not extended) post-PHE.
- Transition the relevant services that are not extended away from telehealth.
- Update your telehealth policies and procedures.
- Educate staff on the changes.
- Establish a point person to ensure changes are made timely.
- Prepare a timely audit.
ABOUT MAGGIE DICOSTANZO
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Maggie DiCostanzo is a principal attorney in Offit Kurman’s Healthcare practice group. For nearly 20 years she has focused her legal practice by representing physicians, hospitals, post-acute care facilities, and other healthcare professionals, delivering health law advice and counseling as well as representation in regulatory, general liability, and professional liability matters. She is also a registered patent attorney with the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office, and drafts licensing agreements and other intellectual property-related documents. Ms. DiCostanzo also assists lawyers in Offit Kurman’s other practice groups, including Business Law and Transactions, to address discreet healthcare issues.