Telehealth important, but in-person care is 'gold standard,' CMS chief says

CMS Administrator Seema Verma penned an op-ed for CNN outlining how her agency is thinking about the future of healthcare as the pandemic progresses.

Ms. Verma addressed why CMS is promoting a return to pre-pandemic healthcare standards, including in-person visits. Last week, the agency issued a roadmap to resuming in-person care while maintaining telehealth as an option for people who are better served at home than in the office. CMS expanded payments and access to telehealth during the pandemic, but has not revealed which changes may become permanent.

"When it comes to telehealth, it took a crisis to push our country to a new frontier," she wrote. "Telehealth can never replace what was and remains the gold standard: in-person care. Physicians will always need to listen to their patients' heart and lungs; children will always need their vaccinations; and adults cannot go too long without cancer screenings."

Telehealth "will remain an important tool," she said, but she encourages in-person care for patients who need procedures and preventive care.

More articles on telehealth:
10 most common telehealth visit diagnoses during the pandemic — Hypertension is No. 1
Telemedicine as a revenue generator: Big ideas from Beebe Healthcare CEO Dr. David Tam
Will health systems sustain telehealth if pandemic pay rates, coverage drop?

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