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Addressing Oncology with Telehealth during COVID-19

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Recent regulatory shifts, especially those in the area of Remote patient monitoring (RPM) and Telehealth, have a strong potential to drive changes in the cancer care delivery

Federal and State agencies and regulatory boards across the nation – including Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the Office for Civil Rights (OCR), the Office of the Inspector General (OIG), have taken unprecedented steps over last few weeks to help the hospitals battle the novel coronavirus. Umpteen regulations and resources have been laid for the physicians and hospitals to help navigate through the challenging times.

While hospitals have received regulatory relief, the private physician practices struggle to identify the opportunities available for them. Oncology practices face a unique problem. They are equally anxious as they must continue to treat patients in the fight of their lives. They are overwhelmed with the cases and logistics of caring for them as the nations’ entire focus is to curb COVID-19.

However, recent regulatory shifts, especially those in the area of Remote patient monitoring (RPM) and Telehealth, have a strong potential to drive changes in the cancer care delivery by:

  • Providing access to the much-needed treatment
  • Ability to safely participate in critical clinical trials
  • Addressing paucity of staff resulting from quarantine
  • Managing the prudent use of supplies
  • Providing financial stability as the patients are not turning up for the treatment

Telehealth Expansion

In the times of COVID-19, opportunities to leverage Telehealth to monitor and care for immuno-compromised patients have been expanded significantly. Tele-oncology can now be extended to patients across the nation that includes remote monitoring, supervision and on-going virtual care.

Immense reimbursement opportunities and operational flexibility can be utilized by cancer care providers to experiment with remote check-ins and E-visits in ways that had previously not been available. CMS has expanded coverage of telehealth services for healthcare providers with Medicare beneficiaries.

The recent expansion encompasses the following reimbursements:

  • Medicare Telehealth service– For the new or existing patients where the provider can use the virtual (audio and visual) system to interact with the patients and can bill at the same rate as regular-in person visit.
  • Virtual check-in visits– Providers can have a brief communication that can be conducted through a wide variety of methods with the new or existing patients (Codes G2012 and G2010)
  • E-visits – These are for the established patients that can have initial interaction with the doctors through the online patient portal.

Guidance for Clinical Trials

COVID-19 Pandemic has significantly impacted the access to clinical trials as enrollments are dipping and trials are going on hold. To provide relief, FDA has issued guidance for the industry to support and review the imminent efforts during this time. The guidance specifically describes the potential use of telehealth to perform safety assessments in clinical trials.

Reporting Deadlines Extension

The Reporting Deadlines for the cancer care providers participating in the prospective payment system (PPS)-exempt cancer hospital quality reporting program (PCHQR) for cancer hospitals, the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) and certain other quality reporting and  value-based purchasing programs have received reporting extensions. Read more on how the recent telehealth expansion can dwindle the barriers on tele-oncology.

Engage, Guide and Monitor your patients remotely with Vivify Health

Vivify Health has been at the forefront of digital disruption across healthcare systems delivering remote care for virtually any clinical condition including cancer. We are a leader in connected care management and patient engagement driving better outcomes and ROI for health systems. With immense experience in actively servicing more than 800 hospitals, home care agencies and health plans through our Remote Patient Monitoring (RPM) platform, we take pride in reducing readmission rate by over 65%plus exceeding patients’ satisfaction levels by 95%.

In these challenging times, healthcare providers across the nation are tapping into Remote Patient Monitoring (RPM) and telehealth solutions to communicate with their patients and track their health. Vivify Health has been the vanguard of the COVID-19 crisis and was quick to develop a strategy to assist the overwhelmed healthcare systems by better managing the surge of patients requiring medical attention at a given point of time. Using vivify to monitor, conduct virtual telehealth visits, and care for immuno-compromised patients will help your organization stay on top of your most vulnerable patients. With the evolving adoption of digital weapons to address the pandemic, our purpose as an organization has never been clearer.

Learn more about how Vivify Health can engage, guide, and monitor your patients remotely!

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Vivify Health is transforming healthcare with the market’s most comprehensive patient-centered connected care platform, spanning from remote monitoring of high-risk patients and patient activation to population and employee health. Vivify’s platform is the digital pathway to collaborative care on demand — with a focus on ease of use for employees, members, patients and providers.

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