Tags: Coronavirus | Medicare | seema verma | telehealth | virus | covid-19 | pandemic

Medicare Head Verma: Telehealth Expansion Important in Epidemic

centers for medicare and medicaid services administrator seema verma
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma (Alex Brandon/AP)

By    |   Wednesday, 18 March 2020 09:24 AM

The government's expansion of telehealth services to the 62 million seniors participating in the Medicare program is an important tool in slowing the spread of coronavirus, Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma said Wednesday.

"Staying at home, this is especially important for America's seniors that have underlying health conditions," Verma said on Fox News' "Fox and Friends," adding that in the past, Medicare only paid for very short telehealth calls for people in rural areas and required that they have a longstanding relationship with providers.

The expansion helps people with the "most dire healthcare needs" while keeping at-risk patients from having to travel or sit in a waiting room around potentially ill people, and keeps people who could be carrying coronavirus symptoms away from others.

Meanwhile, Verma said that many people are saying they are concerned about medical supplies and medications running low for everyday illnesses, such as diabetes, but there is no indication of that happening.

When it comes to supplies on coronavirus, President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence met with manufacturers Tuesday about increasing the production of ventilators and other supplies, and the Department of Defense will donate equipment as well, Verma said.

She also encouraged Americans to continue practicing social distancing.

"It's really up to every single American to come together to follow these guidelines and if we all work together, we could see a flattening of the curve," she said. "Our healthcare system would be overwhelmed if we have the degree of infections or the rate of infections that we have seen in Italy. That's why the White House has put out these recommendations."

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The government's expansion of telehealth services to the 62 million seniors participating in the Medicare program is an important tool in slowing the spread of coronavirus, Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma said Wednesday.
seema verma, telehealth, virus, covid-19, pandemic
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2020-24-18
Wednesday, 18 March 2020 09:24 AM
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