The U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services dramatically changed the delivery of healthcare in response to the COVID Pandemic with the 1135 Waivers. With Telehealth visits compromising up to 90 percent of some outpatient visits during the pandemic, the time has finally come to adopt this patient assessment modality.
According to CMS Administrator Seema Verma in her article in Health Affairs, Telehealth is “an effective way for people to access health care safely during the COVID-19 Pandemic”. With the expansion of Telehealth, over 9 million Medicare beneficiaries were able to make use of remote visits with their healthcare provider.
As we sense the upcoming expiration of the 1135 Waivers, we need a thorough assessment of the successes and failures of telehealth maintaining the areas where this previously underused modality was a success to improve access for patients long after the pandemic Emergency Declaration expires.