Telemedicine options grow amidst coronavirus outbreak

Telemedicine options grow amidst coronavirus outbreak

PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. - Telemedicine is rapidly becoming the first line of defense against coronavirus.

A medical professional can be just a few clicks away as healthcare systems nationwide to ramp up their telemedicine offerings.

As COVID-19 threatens to overwhelm the healthcare system, the option for remote health services is in demand to reduce the flow of traffic to emergency rooms in an attempt to avoid putting healthcare givers at risk.

That concern prompted two West Palm Beach business owners to shed light on other options available.

Details about telehealth screenings were shared during an afternoon virtual town hall meeting from Howley’s Restaurant in West Palm Beach.

Center City Pharmacy, ER Physician Dr. Ben Abo, and Firefighter Paramedic Christopher Woodcock are also showing support for telehealth.

Telemedicine is a way for patients to virtually meet with a physician through their phone, computer or tablet.

If a patient has symptoms of COVID-19, the provider can reach out to the Florida Department of Health for guidance in the next steps and help the patient contact emergency services or a nearby hospital if necessary.

Typically, telemedicine is covered by insurance the same way it would be if you walked into an urgent care clinic or your doctor’s office.

A good place to start is to check with your health care provider, provider system or hospital’s app for a telemedicine portal, download it and follow the prompts.

Last month, the Trump Administration announced expanded Medicare telehealth coverage that will enable beneficiaries to receive a wider range of healthcare services from their doctors without having to travel to a healthcare facility.

Medicare—administered by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS)—will now temporarily pay clinicians to provide telehealth services for beneficiaries residing across the entire country.

“The Trump Administration is taking swift and bold action to give patients greater access to care through telehealth during the COVID-19 outbreak,” said Administrator Seema Verma. “These changes allow seniors to communicate with their doctors without having to travel to a healthcare facility so that they can limit risk of exposure and spread of this virus. Clinicians on the frontlines will now have greater flexibility to safely treat our beneficiaries.”

Officials said the option provides flexibility to ensure that all Americans—particularly high-risk individuals—are aware of easy-to-use, accessible benefits that can help keep them healthy while helping to contain the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

For more information about the use of telehealth and telemedicine in public health, click here.

Scripps Only Content 2020