During the past few weeks, health care attorneys have received an unprecedented number of questions from health care providers regarding telemedicine.
Before Tuesday, health care attorneys were not able to provide much comforting assurance to their clients. Medicare previously only reimbursed providers for certain telemedicine services in rural areas at certain locations or for certain brief “virtual check-ins.” But now, in light of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the telemedicine landscape has become dramatically different.
On March 17, 2020, President Trump announced that “Medicare patients can now visit any doctor by phone or video conference at no additional cost, including with commonly used services like FaceTime and Skype — a historic breakthrough. This has not been done before…” This announcement follows the prior announcement that the federal government would authorize $500 million in new spending for the expansion of telemedicine.