MGMA urges telehealth waivers amidst coronavirus pandemic

March 12, 2020

The organization pushes HHS fully utilize telehealth services.

The Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) is urging HHS to immediately implement a new telehealth waiver which the organization believes would expand treatment at a time when COVID-19 coronavirus is sweeping the globe.

In a letter to HHS Secretary Alex Azar and CMS Administrator Seema Verma, the organization pressed for the implementation of the waiver, which was authorized under the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2020. It also asks HHS to clarify that the waivers pertain to all medical conditions and not just the treatment of COVID-19.

“It is critical that patients continue to have access to medical care for ongoing conditions and non-COVID-19 related illnesses during this public health emergency,” the letter said.

The organization also offered its assistance to the administration in helping medical groups respond to the pandemic in the letter.

The World Health Organization declared the coronavirus outbreak, which has been sweeping the world since mid-December, a global pandemic March 11. Around the world, more than 127,800 have been diagnosed with COVID-19 in 11 countries and at least 4,718 people have died. All but 1,546 of those deaths were in mainland China, where the coronavirus originated, according to reporting from The New York Times.

Meanwhile, nations across the globe impose travel restrictions seeking to slow the spread of the virus. Italy has locked down much of its population leaving only medical facilities and grocery stores open. After weeks of downplaying the impact of the pandemic, President Donald J. Trump expanded the U.S. travel ban to include a 30-day block of passengers from the European Union beginning March 14. The move, announced during a primetime address from the White House, left Americans travelling in the EU scrambling and drew sharp rebukes from the bloc’s leadership, The Times reports.

Locally, Congress is scheduled to vote on a new aid package for people affected by the coronavirus. This follows an $8.5 billion funding package, and a stymied attempt to grant 14 days of sick leave to all employees in the U.S., The Times reports.

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