Disclaimer: Moving Health Care Upstream is a collaborative effort originally co-led by Nemours Children’s Health System (Nemours) and the Center for Healthier Children, Families & Communities at the University of California- Los Angeles (UCLA). The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Nemours, UCLA or the Moving Health Care Upstream initiative.
COVID-19 has changed the landscape of health care, both in the short term and likely in the long term as well. Nemours Children’s Health System (Nemours) has always committed to a patient- and family-centered approach as the bedrock of the high quality care that children and families receive when they come to us. Yet, since the pandemic began, routine and emergent care have been interrupted as we all work together to slow the spread of the virus. At the same time, kids still need health care, and foregoing care can carry significant risk. Fortunately, Nemours had already made significant investments in telehealth capacity and has been providing virtual care for the last five years to supplement our in-person services.
In a recent op-ed published in The Hill, Nemours’ CEO Dr. Larry Moss said, “Telehealth offers a promising way back to health for patients and healthcare systems. As a surgeon, I see more efficient and effective care for patients. As a health system CEO, I see a path back to financial stability that optimizes patient care. As an optimist, I see a transformational opportunity for our health system to make 10 years of progress in 10 weeks.”
To aid in that transformation, Nemours has been participating in multiple efforts to advance telehealth policy change. At this moment, two specific policy opportunities are now on the horizon! In partnership with Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-DE) and Congressman Michael Burgess, MD (R-TX), we’ve supported the development of the TIKES Act to take steps in this direction. Introduced on October 1, 2020, the bill would:
- Provide states with guidance and strategies to increase telehealth access for Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) populations
- Require a study examining data and information on the impact of telehealth on the Medicaid population
- Require a study that reviews coordination among federal agency telehealth policies and examines opportunities for better collaboration, as well as opportunities for telehealth expansion into early care and education settings