Friday Five: Telehealth is more prevalent, but access hasn’t caught up
In this week’s Friday Five, Maximus is reading about challenging Medicaid policies, increased use of telehealth, a need to coordinate cybersecurity practices, and the tidal wave of unemployment claims.
Interviews conducted by the US Government Accountability Office identified four main areas of federal Medicaid policy that pose difficulties for states. These areas include coverage exclusions/care coordination, benefits and eligibility, Medicare and Medicaid alignment, and payment methods.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, telehealth use has jumped from 11% to 46% of U.S. consumers. Fierce Healthcare reports that the majority of individuals that have used telehealth services report both high satisfaction and say they are likely to use telehealth in the future. Telehealth revenue is expected to rise dramatically, with some estimating that 20% of healthcare spending could go to virtual methods.
Lack of broadband internet access in rural areas has made implementing in-home virtual visits and remote patient monitoring more difficult. According to Government Technology, a multi-stakeholder effort is working on a project that will measure improved broadband access and cancer outcomes in rural Kentucky, where distance, transportation and financial issues can make traditional office visits difficult.
States are required to meet cybersecurity requirements of federal agencies that share personally identifiable information or other sensitive data. According to NextGov, instructions from these agencies can vary widely. The Government Accountability Office recommended that federal agencies coordinate among themselves to make their requirements as consistent as possible and ease the burden on states.
More than 40 million individuals have filed for unemployment benefits since the COVID-19 pandemic, with another 2.1 million filing initial claims last week. CNN reports this is the tenth week with claims in the millions, a number which had never been seen prior to the pandemic. Weekly claims hit their peak at the end of March, but unemployment rates still remain high.