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Future Forward: Data Arrangements During and After COVID-19

The need for speedy and more complete access to data is instrumental for healthcare providers, researchers, pharmaceutical, biotech and device companies and public health authorities as they work to quickly identify infection rates, disease trends, outcomes, including antibodies, and opportunities for treatments and vaccines for COVID-19. A variety of data sharing and collaborations have emerged in the wake of this crisis, such as: Requests and mandates by public health authorities, either directly or via providers’ business associates requesting real time information on infections and bed and equipment availability Data sharing collaborations among providers for planning, anticipating and tracking COVID-19 caseloads Data sharing among providers, professional societies and pharmaceutical, biotech and medical device companies in search of testing options, treatment and vaccine solutions, and evaluation of co-morbidities CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE FULL...

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Florida’s Extension of its COVID-19 Out-of-State Provider Waiver: A Sign of the Times

Background: Issuing Florida's Emergency Order On March 16, 2020, Florida Surgeon General Dr. Scott Rivkees signed, stamped and finalized Emergency Order 20-002. In doing so, Florida joined what would become the vast majority of states in modifying licensure requirements for physicians in response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) emergency. The surgeon general’s order waived licensing requirements for out-of-state healthcare professionals, advanced life support professionals and basic life support professionals so that they could render services in Florida for the purposes of preparing for, responding to and mitigating any effect of COVID-19. In addition to waiving licensing requirements for in-person services, the order exempted out-of-state physicians, osteopathic physicians, physician assistants and advanced practice registered nurses from licensing requirements governing the provision of telehealth. The order also impacted emergency medical services training...

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$200 Million of Funding for COVID-19 Telehealth Program

On April 2, 2020, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) launched the $200 million Coronavirus (COVID-19) Telehealth Program contemplated in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The Telehealth Program is distinguishable from the broader Connected Care Pilot Program, which will make an additional $100 million in federal universal service funds available for telehealth over the next three years. Telehealth Program Notwithstanding telehealth’s advantages, most low-income Americans are unable to utilize telehealth services due to their lack of consistent, broadband internet connection. Furthermore, some providers are limited in their ability to treat patients via telehealth due to the substantial financial and IT investment in developing connected care programs (e.g., purchase of remote patient monitoring devices, telehealth software platforms). The purpose of the Telehealth Program is to support healthcare providers in urban and...

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Avoiding Confusion Over State Licensing Laws as CMS Further Loosens Telemedicine Restrictions

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) continues to loosen the conditions for participation in Medicare, as well as specific reimbursement requirements, to ensure facilities and practitioners are able to practice at the top of their license and across state lines without jeopardizing Medicare reimbursement. Unfortunately, as demonstrated when CMS took similar actions over the past few weeks in response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, headlines tend to overlook one fundamental component of the applicable regulatory regime: state law requirements. Unlike the Veterans Affairs Administration’s (VA's) action a few years ago, which preempted state licensing law for purposes of implementing a VA telemedicine program, the Department of Health and Human Services has limited its actions during the COVID-19 pandemic to modifications of federal regulations and rules.  Secretary Alex Azar, in a letter to the Governors, instead encouraged the states...

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Telemedicine COVID-19 Briefing: March 16

Government, media and industry have all pointed to the potential for telemedicine to assist in combating the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, steps have been taken by the government to ease the burdens associated with the use of telemedicine during this crisis. Unfortunately, the complexity of the regulatory infrastructure has left a fair amount of confusion with respect to the extent to which rules have been, and may be, liberalized. At a time when our healthcare infrastructure is engaging with a health crisis that will get worse before it gets better, confusion about the requirements for care delivery needs to be reduced to a minimum. Please join us on Monday, March 16 from 1 - 2pm ET for an update on: Loosened Medicare reimbursement requirements State emergency efforts Related issues associated with the delivery of telemedicine services during the COVID-19 pandemic CLICK HERE TO REGISTER

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Bipartisan Bill Relaxes Federal Telehealth Requirements in the Wake of COVID-19

On March 4, 2020, the House passed the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2020, a bipartisan bill to aid in COVID-19 preparedness and response. The bill includes, among other things, provisions that waive certain telehealth requirements during the COVID-19 public health emergency to ensure Medicare beneficiaries can receive telehealth services at home to avoid placing themselves at greater risk of the virus. Generally, Medicare beneficiaries may only receive telehealth services as a Medicare covered service if: The beneficiary (patient) is located in a qualifying rural area; The beneficiary is located at one of eight types of qualifying originating sites; The services are provided by one of 10 categories of distant site practitioners eligible to furnish and receive Medicare payment for telehealth services; The beneficiary and distant site practitioner communicate via an interactive audio and video telecommunications system...

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Coronavirus Resource Center | Preparedness Planning for Businesses

In our global economy, Coronavirus (COVID-19) raises serious concerns for employers in all industries. Workers may be on the front lines caring for patients and developing vaccines, travelling for business, or in close contact with individuals who travel or may have been affected. At this time, there is no vaccine or medication approved to prevent or treat the COVID-19 disease. Therefore, preparedness and prevention are crucial. Frontline responders must be especially vigilant as they deliver care and anticipate the challenges this uncharted territory presents. McDermott’s Coronavirus Resource Center, brought to you by a multi-disciplinary team, will keep you informed of the latest developments and provide comprehensive insight to help you navigate this crisis with your employees, including: Frequently asked questions for US and multi-national employers Recent news updates Podcasts Upcoming events Click here to access the Resource Center.

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The Role of Telehealth in COVID-19 Response Efforts

As the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the United States grows, healthcare providers are stepping up their response planning. To combat the spread of COVID-19, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) urged healthcare systems and providers to deploy all of the resources necessary to ensure health system preparedness. The CDC recommended the use of telehealth tools to help address COVID-19 preparedness and to assist in directing patients to the right level of healthcare for their medical needs. Healthcare providers have a unique and pressing opportunity to offer telehealth services to potential COVID-19 patients. At the same time, healthcare providers’ response to the COVID-19 outbreak highlights some of the barriers to the provision of telehealth services. Providers considering using telehealth as part of their COVID-19 response efforts should take the following factors into consideration: While healthcare providers cannot diagnose COVID-19...

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Digital Health Business Strategy: A Careful Balance

When it comes to market success for digital tools in the health sector, business strategy can be far more complex than in other industries. Understanding customer-driven market trends is important, but healthcare’s complexity can camouflage customer demand and its regulatory ecosystem adds layers of additional considerations. Customer Demand and Digital Solutions The convenience, competitive pricing, answers-at-your-fingertips responsiveness and hyper-personalization delivered by top technology brands and their integration into other industry sectors has created an expectation for digital health solutions that deliver the same experience. In some instances, consumers are finding the solutions. For example, telemedicine is gaining momentum as consumers discover that digital interactions with high-quality providers are oftentimes more convenient and less expensive than face-to-face encounters. Other tools are providing access to prescriptions, better health...

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US Office of Management and Budget Calls for Federal Agencies to Reduce Barriers to Artificial Intelligence

On January 7, 2020, the Director of the US Office of Management and Budget (OMB) issued a Draft Memorandum (the Memorandum) to all federal “implementing agencies” regarding the development of regulatory and non-regulatory approaches to reducing barriers to the development and adoption of artificial intelligence (AI) technologies. Implementing agencies are agencies that conduct foundational research, develop and deploy AI technologies, provide educational grants, and regulate and provide guidance for applications of AI technologies, as determined by the co-chairs of the National Science and Technology Council (NSTC) Select Committee. To our knowledge, the NTSC has not yet determined which agencies are “implementing agencies” for purposes of the Memorandum. Submission of Agency Plan to OMB The “implementing agencies” have 180 days to submit to OMB their plans for addressing the Memorandum. An agency’s plan must: (1) identify any statutory authorities...

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