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On September 3, 2020, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released its Rural Action Plan (the “Plan”). The Plan: (i) details the challenges rural communities endure; (ii) provides an assessment of current and upcoming rural healthcare efforts; (iii) lays out a “Four Point Strategy” to address the disparities between rural and urban communities; and (iv) lays out an action plan featuring 71 action items for remediating the disparities consistent with the Four Point Strategy.

Continue Reading HHS Releases Rural Action Plan

On August 3, 2020, President Trump signed Executive Order 13941 (the “Executive Order”) which expands access to certain telehealth services post-pandemic.  The Executive Order focuses on telehealth access for individuals living in rural areas and implements the following mechanisms:
Continue Reading It’s Official: Telehealth Benefits Have Been Expanded For Medicare Beneficiaries

Many areas of the country are experiencing resurgences of COVID-19, and it is foreseeable that second and perhaps third waves of the virus will hit pockets of the country throughout the remainder of 2020. As healthcare organizations struggle to balance their continued response efforts to the pandemic, with preparations for future waves, we have received many questions from provider organizations regarding how best to prepare their organizations.
Continue Reading Reopening Challenges: FAQs On Preparing For Additional Waves Of COVID-19

This week, Senators Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) and Ted Cruz (R-TX) proposed the Equal Access to Care Act (the “EACA”), which would allow licensed providers to provide services via telehealth in any state, in any location for up to 180 days after the end of the public health emergency period.
Continue Reading The Post COVID-19 World: Continued Focus on Relaxing Telehealth Barriers

Last week, new legislation was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives that would require Medicare to reimburse certain telehealth services post the public health emergency period.  If passed, the bipartisan  Helping Ensure Access to Local TeleHealth Act of 2020 or HEALTH Act of 2020 (the “HEALTH Act of 2020”) would codify Medicare reimbursement and allow reimbursement for telehealth services provided by federally qualified health centers (“FQHCs”) and rural health clinics (“RHCs”).
Continue Reading Introducing the HEALTH ACT: Expanding Medicare Reimbursement

On April 27, Sheppard Mullin and Citrin Cooperman released a white paper entitled “Telehealth Development: Addressing the Current Need, While Strategically Position for the Future” addressing how federal and state regulators are promoting the expansion of telehealth. Healthcare organizations, of all types and sizes, are working to respond to the rapidly-changing regulatory environment. While there is uncertainty as to what extent these regulatory changes will remain in effect following the public health emergency period, it will be critical for all healthcare organizations to establish a strong foundation for a more permanent telehealth strategy after the crisis is over.
Continue Reading Release of Telehealth Video Series and Readiness Assessment

The unprecedented impact of COVID-19 has created a myriad of challenges for healthcare providers to safely meet the evolving needs of their patients solely through a traditional in-person model. Telehealth has quickly shifted from a “nice-to-have” strategy to an essential tool for all healthcare organizations.
Continue Reading Sheppard Mullin and Citrin Cooperman Rollout Telehealth Maturity Model

On April 2, 2020, the Office for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) announced a Notification of Enforcement Discretion to allow certain uses and disclosures of Protected Health Information (“PHI”) by HIPAA business associates during the COVID-19 public health emergency.  Understanding that the CDC, CMS and state and local health departments need quick access to COVID-19 related healthcare data in order to fight the pandemic, HHS decided to grant HIPAA business associates greater freedom to cooperate and exchange COVID-19-related information with public health and oversight agencies.
Continue Reading HHS Further Relaxes HIPAA Regulations Governing Use and Disclosure of Protected Health Information During the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency

As a follow up, to our post from Thursday, April 9, 2020, today, the FCC announced that it will  begin accepting applications for its $200 million COVID-19 Telehealth Program (“Program”). Health care providers can submit applications at the FCC’s Program Webpage, but should be sure to follow previous guidance for pre- and post-filing requirements.  A full breakdown can be viewed in our previous post here.  The FCC has also released a filing guide and a webinar advising health care providers on the application process.
Continue Reading FCC Now Accepting COVID-19 Telehealth Program Applications

On April 2, 2020, the FCC announced plans for a $200 million COVID-19 Telehealth Program (the “Program”) to support health care providers responding to the pandemic.  (FCC 20-44).  The Program will use funds allocated by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act to provide broadband connectivity services and devices that will improve and expand current telehealth capabilities in areas hit hardest by the virus.

Continue Reading FCC Announces $200 Million Telehealth Fund In Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic