PAFP president calls for expanded tele-health options, coverage

Encouraged by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ (CMS) announcement that Medicare programs will expand the use of remote patient encounters through tele-health, Pennsylvania Academy of Family Physicians (PAFP) President Tracey Conti, MD encourages commercial insurers in Pennsylvania to follow suit.

“Family medicine physicians are on the front lines of this pandemic, and patients are urged to call their physician if they suspect they have the COVID-19 virus,” Dr. Conti said. “Broadening physicians’ options to utilize mainstream tele-health and virtual health methods will help patients and physicians deal with this crisis. Further, expanding these options now will enable patients seeking routine care the ability to avoid potential exposure to the virus.”

The PAFP applauds Gov. Tom Wolf and the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services for taking steps to expand tele-health capability through the Commonwealth’s Medicaid Managed Care Organizations and for seeking greater flexibility from CMS to extend benefits without interruption.

The PAFP will be monitoring closely as private health insurers make updates to their current policies on telemedicine.

The Pennsylvania Academy of Family Physicians and its Foundation supports its members (including nearly 80 percent of Pennsylvania family physicians) through advocacy and education to ensure physician-coordinated, personalized, and comprehensive quality health care for every Pennsylvanian. The Academy and its Foundation are the leading influential resource among family physicians and physicians in training in Pennsylvania; the primary voice on health care issues with state legislative and administrative branches of government, media and professional health organizations; and the leader on health care issues in the community.

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