With the COVID-19 pandemic taking lives all over the nation, local and state leaders have issued stay-at-home orders to try to thwart the spread of the disease. COVID-19 can cause serious complications in the elderly and in those with underlying health conditions.
The News Tribune posted an article titled “Telemedicine helps elderly patients stay home during pandemic,” which explains that, for some services, health care providers have found telehealth can assist some of the most vulnerable patients, who can stay in the comfort of their own homes.
Many healthcare providers are launching telemedicine or video visits. Those patients who want to participate in video visits with their physicians, should contact their physicians’ offices for more information about the availability.
The federal government announced an expanded use and relaxed rules for Medicare telemedicine in response to the coronavirus pandemic, effective March 6, 2020. Rural and site limitations have been removed, and telehealth services can now be provided, regardless of where the Medicare patient is located geographically and by type of site. This allows a patient to be at home and communicate with their doctor.
Medicare also expanded the list of eligible services provided via telehealth. Medicare patients can now get a wider range of healthcare services from their doctors without having to travel to a doctor’s office, and these telehealth services are not limited to health issues related to patients with COVID-19.
It’s a win-win. Healthcare professionals are able to take care of patients and keep staff on-site. Staff are getting more hours.
At some facilities, the need for patients to see their doctors, while not exposing them to the COVID-19 virus, is a motivating factor for the expansion of telehealth offerings.
The use of online resources allows patients to meet with their providers remotely from their homes. It includes care for many common illnesses and injuries, preventive care, mental health conditions and a range of other medical needs.
Seniors should contact their doctor’s office to see if telehealth is an option for them.