Telehealth Reform: COVID-19 Unites 180 Distinguished Physicians to Send Congress This Letter
By Adam Pick on August 11, 2020
Sometimes… It’s hard to imagine that anything good can come from COVID-19. The novel coronavirus has cast an undeniable darkness upon our planet with 20+ million infections and 737 thousand deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University of Medicine.
In difficult and trying times, I often reflect upon one of my favorite quotes from Mahatma Gandhi. The quote is, “In the midst of death, life persists. In the midst of untruth, truth persists. In the midst of darkness, light persists.”
I was reminded of the “light” earlier today when I learned that 180 leading physicians, including all hospitals ranked in the Top 20 by U.S. News and World Report, as well as 60+ past or current presidents of major medical associations, had come together to sign and send a letter to the United States Congressional Offices for the purpose of advancing Telehealth initiatives.
The campaign, led by Dr. David Adams, Cardiac Surgeon-in-Chief at Mount Sinai Health System and a world-renowned mitral valve surgeon, was written to call for critical reforms that will allow the medical community to continue using Telehealth to deliver appropriate care to patients across the country. The letter outlines two key policy changes:
- Make permanent the extension of our authority to use Telehealth tools to evaluate, counsel, and monitor patients.
- Enact legislation that allows nationwide reciprocity of medical licensing, to enable Americans everywhere to access the health care they need.
If you would like to learn more, click here to download and read the actual letter.
Why is Telehealth Reform Critical for Patients & the Healthcare System?
Since government leaders temporarily lifted certain restrictions in March due to COVID-19, expanded access to Telehealth has benefited millions of patients, including many from the most vulnerable populations and our heart valve community. In this letter, the physicians urge Congressional policymakers to enact key Telehealth reforms to ensure patients can continue accessing the health care they need and deserve.
So you know… During the pandemic, studies suggest that 80 new services have been delivered via Telehealth and more than 11.3 million patients have received care from the safety of their own home. Research from the Department of Veterans Affairs suggest that Telehealth programs reduced hospitalizations by as much as 40%, saving $6,500 for every enrollee. Other studies show that digitally delivered care is typically about half of the cost of services provided in doctors’ offices and urgent care clinics.
On behalf of all the patients, thanks to the doctors who participated in this wonderful effort! During the pandemic, I have spoke with many heart valve patients who have really appreciated the convenience of Telehealth and the direct access it provides to doctors, physician’s assistants and nurses.
It is so great to see how something as terrible as COVID-19 can potentially lead to permanent enhancements and much-needed reductions in healthcare expense.
- Heart Health Innovation: Telehealth & Cardiac Care During COVID
- COVID-19: 20 Facts for Heart Valve Disease Patients
- Safety, Risks & Benefits of Heart Valve Surgery During COVID
- The “New Normal” of Cardiac Surgery Appointments
Keep on tickin!