Improved Options for Medicare and Medicaid Patients with Telehealth

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Improved Options for Medicare and Medicaid Patients with Telehealth

Medicare and Medicaid

Telehealth services continue to grow in popularity. Patients benefit tremendously from the ability to access quality healthcare over the phone. Though some situations require an in-person visit, appointment availability can be days or weeks away. Telehealth allows patients to have their needs and concerns addressed right away, and an in-person visit can be scheduled if necessary. However, the majority of telehealth calls resolve the issue for the patient over the phone.

For example, painful constipation results in millions of emergency room visits every year. When an episode strikes, patients often wind up going to the ER because they are unable to resolve the issue. Imagine if these patients had access to 24/7 telehealth services provided by healthcare providers familiar with these types of complaints. Even if the problem strikes in the middle of the night, their teleprovider is just a phone call away.

The provider can evaluate the patient’s symptoms and determine the cause. The telehealth provider can also determine if an ER visit is needed. In many cases where the patient suffers from painful constipation, the provider can recommend a solution that stops the pain very quickly. The patient can then continue following up with the provider, if needed, for continued care. Teleproviders can also assist patients with many nonemergency but urgent care concerns, such as bloody noses or ankle sprains. The assistance of the teleprovider empowers patients to better their conditions and health right away.

How Telehealth Assists Medicare and Medicaid Recipients

As of 2018, over 40 million seniors are enrolled in Medicare and 74 million people are enrolled in Medicaid or CHIP. Though some seniors are enrolled in both Medicare and Medicaid, total enrollment in these programs still remains 100 million strong. These programs are a literal lifeline to 1/3 of the U.S. population. Without these programs, many would have no where to turn when health conditions cause debilitating pain and disability. Unable to access life-saving and life-extending care, millions would die prematurely.

Providing quality care to this massive group of Americans must always remain a top priority. These programs protect the health, well-being, and longevity of all Americans. Without them, every American would know someone unable to afford healthcare.

How Telehealth Helps Recipients

Telehealth helps to drastically reduce hospital readmissions. Often, after a patient is released following surgery or treatment of an illness, a health concern or pain arises, and the patient lacks the tools to treat it at home. In the days before telehealth, this situation often resulted in hospital readmission.

Hospital readmissions correlate strongly with poorer patient outcomes. One reason for this is increased exposure to germs and other risks that occur with hospital admissions. Another reason is it removes patients from home, where the environment is more comfortable.

By using telehealth, patients can resolve many issues without readmission to the hospital. Avoiding unnecessary readmission not only helps patient outcomes, it also reduces unnecessary expenses. No person needs the extra burden of additional hospital bills when they can be avoided. Telehealth provides for the patient’s entire well-being.

Most hospital patients eagerly await discharge. Hospitals are a difficult place for most people to remain for long periods of time. They are unable to engage in their normal daily activities. They miss the comfortable environs of home. Though being in hospital provides necessary services, as soon as the in-hospital services are no longer needed, the patient is happier and recovers better at home.

Telehealth helps speed the patient homecoming process. Patients are able to have their concerns and symptoms managed by a healthcare provider while at home, without needing to wait for an appointment time that could be days or weeks away. For patients in need of monitoring, remote patient monitoring helps make earlier discharge possible.

Remote monitoring uses computers, tablets, smartphones, and other devices to provide the healthcare supervision patients need. Monitoring capabilities meet or exceed hospital monitoring. This allows patients to enjoy the comforts of home and peace of mind.

Telehealth provides greater provider access for rural patients and patients with disabilities. Long commutes to appointments and mobility issues can make keeping appointments a challenge, if not an impossibility. They also limit the providers rural and disabled patients can visit.

By utilizing telehealth, patients have the ability to gain access to specialists that are not in their geographical regions. Patients can receive follow-up care, advice, and help administering self-care tasks. With these advantages, many patients are able to live at home longer, rather than being forced to enter a nursing home prematurely.

The digital revolution has ushered in an era of never-before-seen communications ability. By utilizing telehealth, the healthcare industry brings care to the patients. Patients benefit from better outcomes and lower costs. This burgeoning industry has already assisted millions of patients covered under the government’s health-insurance programs. They are able to get immediate help with issues that once required waiting days or weeks for an appointment.

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