Across the U.S., it has been the facility of availing telehealth under Medicare that had allowed many people to adhere to the lockdown measures and staying at home. Now, the Trump administration is taking steps to ensure that this option becomes a permanent fixture.

Medicare had made the availability of telehealth for its users widespread as a part of its emergency plan to tackle the coronavirus pandemic. It has been used a lot as per statistics, which found in the last week of April 2020, 1.7 million recipients availed telehealth. The usage of telehealth before the pandemic struck was in the low thousands. 

But once the pandemic is over, the expansion of the telehealth services will end in most places. The administration, however, can permanently expand some services in rural areas to make it a broader program. Though the Congress would have to be brought on board, allowing telehealth to become a permanent option for people living in cities and suburbs.

The Trump administration has been working towards ensuring that telehealth has a broader reach and role under Medicare. The administration is planning to put forward an executive order to instruct Congress to make doctor visits via personal technology a constant facility provided by the program.

“Prior to the pandemic, telehealth was fine, but it wasn’t anything raging, and I guess one of the only good things that we’ve gotten out of this horrible situation is that telehealth has been increased,” Trump told reporters at the White House.

In the initial steps of employing the plan, President Donald Trump will be signing an order that would recipients of Medicare living in rural communities eligible for telehealth. This order will also include hospitals in rural communities receiving steady Medicare payments if they quality performance.

As per his administration officials, this would serve as a sign for Congress that Trump is serious about opening up telehealth for all people with Medicare.

Trump has also instructed officials to develop a specific plan within 30 days to boost investment in the communications infrastructure, which would, in turn, benefit rural healthcare. He has also called for a report on ways the overall healthcare in rural areas can be improved, which includes reducing maternal deaths and improving mental health.

Donald Trump Donald Trump speaks at the First in the Nation Leadership Summit in Nashua, NH, on April 18, 2015 Andrew Cline / Shutterstock.com