As Telehealth Use Grows, Industry Tackles Thorny Issues
As more patients turn to virtual appointments, health care providers see ways the practice could stick around after the pandemic. Meanwhile, electronic health records companies eye a return to in-person work.
Telemedicine Shines During Pandemic But Will Glow Fade?
Racked with anxiety, Lauren Shell needed to talk to her cancer doctor. But she lives at least an hour away and it was the middle of her workday. It was also the middle of a pandemic. Enter telemedicine. The 34-year-old Leominster, Massachusetts, resident arranged a quick video visit through the app Zoom in May with her doctor in Boston. He reassured her that he was confident in their treatment plan, and the chances of her breast cancer returning were low. (Murphy, 8/10)
With Livongo's Devices, Teladoc Is Poised To Move Into Remote Monitoring
As part of its landmark $18.5 billion deal to buy Livongo, telehealth giant Teladoc Health is poised to inherit a set of devices that the chronic care company has used for years to turn mountains of patient data into easily digestible health advice. The technology — which includes connected blood pressure cuffs, glucose monitors, and weight scales — will be a key asset for the newly combined company, which will be called Teladoc. (Brodwin, 8/11)
Epic, Cerner, Allscripts Vary In Return-To-Office Approach
While some electronic health record system developers are pushing for a return to in-person work, others are following the lead of big tech companies and evaluating whether remote work options could extend beyond the COVID-19 pandemic. Epic Systems Corp. this weekend walked back its plan to begin bringing employees back to the office Monday, a controversial move that brought national attention and pushback from concerned employees. The company's phased approach would have required most of its nearly 10,000 workers to return to work at its 1,000-acre campus in Verona, Wis., by Sept. 21, well before the company's competitors. (Cohen, 8/10)
Healthcare Industry Asks White House To OK Anti-Fraud Rules
The Trump administration should quickly approve changes to physician self-referral and anti-kickback rules, more than 120 healthcare organizations, trade groups, suppliers and vendors said in a letter Wednesday. HHS, CMS and HHS' inspector general have been working on changes to Stark law and Anti-Kickback Statute regulations for several years, finally proposing new rules in October. Providers broadly support the changes but oppose the Trump administration's plan to make Stark Law exceptions conditional on meeting price transparency requirements. (Brady, 8/10)
Prisma Health CDO: Payment Changes Key To Sustaining Telehealth Gains
The coronavirus pandemic has forced U.S. healthcare providers to dramatically increase their use of digital tools, but doing so requires more than just flipping a switch. Organizations are not only challenged with accelerating the purchase and rollout of technology, but also addressing the digital divide that still exists in many areas. As chief digital officer at Prisma Health, a large not-for-profit health system in South Carolina, Dr. Nick Patel has been at the forefront of expanding telehealth services to different patient populations. He spoke with Modern Healthcare Managing Editor Matthew Weinstock. The following is an edited transcript. (Weinstock, 8/10)
Dallas Morning News:
Dallas Doctor Gets More Than 5 Years In Prison For Role In Massive Kickback Scheme
A Dallas doctor already serving several years in prison for defrauding the U.S. government to the tune of $10 million has been sentenced to more than five years behind bars for a massive kickback scheme. Richard Ferdinand Toussaint Jr., an anesthesiologist who co-founded Forest Park Medical Center, was sentenced Monday to 66 months in federal prison on one count of conspiracy to pay health care bribes and kickbacks and one count of illegal remuneration under the Travel Act. The sentence will run concurrently with his 41-month term in the fraud case. (Steele, 8/10)