In the midst of this pandemic, now is perhaps the worst time for rural hospitals to be closing. The COVID-19 health emergency has put their already shaky existence at even greater risk. With the government calling for all non-emergency procedures to be delayed, rural hospitals everywhere are encountering extreme financial strain.
As providers adopt Telehealth solutions as safe alternatives to in-person visits, many are wondering whether coverage for these services has changed as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Prior to the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency in the US, the popularity of Telehealth – remote electronic communications between physicians, other healthcare providers and patients - had been somewhat limited. The limited use of electronic patient engagement was in large part due to restrictive reimbursement for those services by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS).
Second opinions are, in the words of many within the healthcare industry, essential in the case of critical illness and a right of every patient. Most insurance plans, including Medicare and Medicaid, cover or even require an in-person second opinion consultation with a specialist prior to treatment. Medicare even pays for a third opinion if the second opinion differs significantly from the first.