In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) issued the “Notification of Enforcement Discretion for Telehealth Remote Communications During the COVID-19 Nationwide Public Health Emergency”. By issuing this notification, OCR aims to ensure proper access to health services under considerable geographical constraints imposed by COVID-19. Because most of the United States population remains under “shelter in place” or “stay at home” orders, healthcare providers have significant obstacles reaching their patients.
To reduce the volume of new COVID-19 transmission cases, The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has advised that face-to-face consultations must be avoided if not essential to the care and treatment of a patient. This recommendation pushes telehealth service delivery as the only viable solution to effectively meet the needs of patient populations. However, many providers are unfamiliar with telehealth modalities and are in need of the proper resources to deliver health services in an effective and compliant manner.
My chief priority is to keep providers, and every other healthcare worker, informed regarding all aspects of preparedness, operations, regulations, and best practices during this national public health emergency.
To that end, I developed guidance for providers based on common questions asked in our COVID-19 webinars. “Telehealth in the Time of COVID-19” addresses the basic guidelines for telehealth services along with comprehensive explanations of more complex aspects, such as:
- Guidance from the OCR regarding telehealth service delivery
- Impact to HIPAA provisions based on the OCR guidance
- Penalty enforcement for HIPAA violations during the public health emergency
It is my hope that this guidance will help reduce the anxiety regarding critical aspects of COVID-19, while assisting healthcare providers to deliver the best possible care for your patients.