This Legislation Can Ease Telehealth Use for Locum Tenens Physicians

If you’re a locum tenens provider, you’ve probably utilized telehealth platforms to treat patients at some point during your healthcare career. In an effort to uphold the use of telehealth as a top patient care delivery model, the Advancing Telehealth Beyond COVID-19 Act will cover reimbursements for telehealth services – and protect access to telehealth services - through 2024. Because of this legislation, telehealth use will continue to surge as more physicians implement virtual appointments within their patient care delivery models. Here are some of the components of this legislation:

Extended coverage of telehealth services.

Through the Advancing Telehealth Beyond COVD-19 Act, telehealth reimbursement flexibilities will be extended through the end of 2024. This will enable a greater number of services to be reimbursed via telehealth, significantly impacting how facilities can deliver healthcare in the face of the growing physician shortage. Now, long after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, telehealth will continue to provide a reliable and accessible form of healthcare to patients everywhere.

Multitude of covered medical services.

Thanks to the Advancing Telehealth Beyond COVID-19 Act, Medicare now covers a large span of services that can be administered through telehealth, including office visits, psychotherapy, and preventative health screenings. Telehealth services have also recently been expanded to cover emergency visits, physical therapy, occupational therapy, and other similar services. This has created many more opportunities for healthcare providers to work with rural patient populations who may have limited access to traditional in-person facilities.

Widespread reimbursement for locum tenens providers.

The Advancing Telehealth Beyond COVID-19 Act also enables all locum tenens providers who are eligible to bill Medicare for healthcare services to bill for telehealth services as well. This applies to any healthcare facility or clinic, including federally qualified health centers and rural healthcare clinics that were not authorized telehealth providers for Medicare beneficiaries prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. Widespread reimbursement has also greatly increased the number of providers who are able and willing to treat patients via telehealth at all types of healthcare facilities across the country.

These are some of the core facets of this legislation that will continue to make telehealth a prevalent form of healthcare delivery in the months and years to come.

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