CHIME Statement on Making Telehealth Changes Permanent
ANN ARBOR, MI, May 12, 2020 – The College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME) is calling for the expansion of telehealth during the COVID-19 public health emergency to be made permanent in the U.S. This expansion has been facilitated through temporary flexibilities, waivers or allowances to federal rules by agencies such as the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the Office for Civil Rights, the Office of the Inspector General and the Drug Enforcement Administration. Also, funding allocated in the CARES Act and released as grants through the Federal Communications Commission has boosted telehealth capabilities for eligible providers.
Below is a statement from CHIME President and CEO Russell Branzell:
“Telehealth has facilitated the delivery of health and care during the pandemic in the U.S. and around the world. Our members have stood up telehealth programs literally in days, letting their hospitals and health systems triage patients and provide care to those in need. They have been able to safely treat non-COVID patients or COVID patients with mild symptoms at home without the risk of exposing clinicians and other hospital administrative workers to patients with the virus. With personal protection equipment in short supply, telehealth programs have also been critical for hospitals and ambulatory care facilities.
CHIME supports the changes enacted by Congress and the administration and wants them made permanent. Our members have shown the tremendous value that virtual care brings to patients, clinicians, healthcare organizations – including acute, ambulatory, long-term, post-acute, and behavioral health providers – as well as payers. In making these changes permanent, we must ensure they are provided in a secure and private environment. Our members place a premium on protecting patient data and we are confident that with the right tools and policies, telehealth can be delivered securely.
We call on Medicare and all other insurers to continue to fund telehealth programs and work collaboratively on coverage and coding to lessen provider burden. We cannot go back to pre-COVID telehealth; instead, we must go forward. Patients will demand it and providers will expect it. We encourage everyone in healthcare to build on the momentum and continue to innovate with virtual care. Working together, we will come out of this pandemic stronger, better, and more resilient than ever.”
The College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME) is an executive organization dedicated to serving chief information officers (CIOs), chief medical information officers (CMIOs), chief nursing information officers (CNIOs), chief innovation officers (CIOs), chief digital officers (CDOs) and other senior healthcare IT leaders. With more than 3,200 members in 56 countries and over 150 healthcare IT business partners and professional services firms, CHIME provides a highly interactive, trusted environment enabling senior professional and industry leaders to collaborate, exchange best practices, address professional development needs and advocate the effective use of information management to improve the health and care in the communities they serve. For more information, please visit chimecentral.org.
Director of Communications and Public Relations, CHIME