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September 2020    Volume 1 Issue 6
Health Law Connections

That Was Then and This Is Now—How the COVID-19 Crisis Changed Telehealth Services: Are the Changes Here to Stay?

  • September 01, 2020
  • Kim Harvey Looney , K & L Gates LLP
  • Molly August Huffman , Waller Lansden Dortch & Davis LLP

Historically, telehealth services were limited both in reimbursement and location. Most encounters took place for purposes of rural health treatment and in underserved areas as a way to get specialized treatment to patients in geographic locations where they would not otherwise have treatment options. The use of telehealth services has increased in recent years. One study found that from 2017 to 2019, the number of health systems offering telehealth rose from 39% to 64%.1 In April 2019, a year before the COVID-19 pandemic, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) finalized rules to increase telehealth benefits for Medicare Advantage enrollees, which incentivized health systems with high numbers of private Medicare plan recipients to invest in telehealth services.


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