Telehealth has been growing steadily over the past several years, and that growth is likely to continue given recent developments. Recently, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced the introduction of their Connected Care Pilot Program, a plan aimed at furthering the development and spread of telehealth. To kick the program off, the FCC is contributing $100 million toward the the telehealth initiative.
Although there is not yet an official outline for what the program hopes to achieve, FCC representatives have said that the plan is to allow better telehealth access for low-income patients living in remote areas. At its core, the Connect Care Pilot Program aims to connect individual people with virtual medicine instead of focusing solely on larger facilities. There is not yet a proposed release date for the initiative, but FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr says that this will allow more time for people to submit suggestions, given that “we’re not healthcare experts, so we need comments.”
When asked about the general plans for the project, Carr commented that “for the first time, we now have technology that can make a difference. So that when you leave the confines of these connected brick-and-mortar facilities, you maintain access to high-quality care. Now patients are sent home with apps on their tablets or iPads, and they can daily track their progress, get access to video and other information, and we’re seeing tremendous benefit in terms of outcomes for patients, but also really large savings for the healthcare industry. Particularly in terms of chronic diseases.”
If you work for a practice or facility in a rural area, keep in mind that this development will likely affect you in the near future. As the Connect Care Pilot Program grows, it is almost guaranteed that more and more people will take advantage of telehealth, especially if they live far from a physical medical facility. As more updates are released, be sure to review the appropriate codes and modifiers for telehealth encounters so that you can be ready when the time comes.