Trump Improving American Health Care with ‘Life-Changing’ Telehealth Reform

SACRAMENTO, CA - AUGUST 17: In this handout photo released by the California Telehealth Network (CTN) , Dr. Tom Nesbitt, Chancellor Strategic Technologies and Alliances, University of California Davis Health System speaks during the launch of the California Telehealth Network August 17, 2010 in Sacramento, California. The system uses Broadband …
Bob Riha, Jr./CTN via Getty Images

Businessmen, lawmakers, and health experts have lauded President Donald Trump’s expansion of telehealth for Medicare patients as “life-changing.” The reform has given Americans better access to care and improved doctor transparency efficiency.

President Trump has worked to expand telehealth since the beginning of his administration. Trump expanded telehealth options at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Then-VA Secretary David Shulkin said that Trump moved to expand video technology and diagnostic tools to conduct medical exams. He said that veterans will be able to use mobile devices to schedule or cancel appointments with a VA doctor.

Shulkin said that the programs will make it possible to provide medical care to veterans across the world.

In March, the Trump administration expanded Medicare telehealth coverage that will enable beneficiaries to receive a wider range of healthcare services from their doctors. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) approved a waiver that temporarily pays clinicians to provide telehealth services for beneficiaries across the country.

President Trump also signed a coronavirus-related bill in March that would provide $500 million to help clinicians expand telehealth services.

“In addition, states have the authority to cover telehealth services for their medical patients, Trump said in March. “And by doing this, the patient is not seeing the doctor per se, but they’re seeing the doctor, so there’s no getting close.”

Before the Trump administration, Medicare was only allowed to pay clinicians for telehealth services such as routine visits in limited circumstances.

The Trump telehealth expansion has been lauded by senators, businessmen, and members of his administration.

“We need to clear out as many regulatory barriers standing in the way of access to telemedicine as possible,” Blackburn said in March.

CMS Administrator Seema Verma told Breitbart News Daily host Alex Marlow recently that the telehealth reform expands access to health care and helps prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Verma explained:

It is rapidly expanding across the country under the president’s leadership. One of the things that we know right now is that it’s better for people to stay at home. Those are the recommendations the president and the vice president have put out, 15 days to slow the spread. We’ve said very clearly to individuals, especially those that are elderly with underlying health conditions, that you need to stay home. And so that’s why we’re using telehealth and promoting telehealth because we know that people still need health care. It may be completely unrelated to the coronavirus, you may have heart disease and diabetes, it allows people to communicate with their doctors from the safety of their own home, which is so important.

Clint Phillips, the CEO of Medici, a telehealth company, told Breitbart News in an interview on Friday that the reform has improved doctor’s efficiency and improved Americans’ access to their doctor.

Phillips said, “This is a great way for their patients to do everything, and they can probably help 80 to 90 percent of their patients. Instead of dozens of doctors utilizing this every day, we’ve now seen hundreds of doctors, maybe thousands of doctors, that are realizing the impact that they could have on their patients, but also the flexibility that it gives them to work from home, work wherever they are. They, like other professionals, they could work from a Starbucks.”

Phillips said that, with telehealth, doctors could increase the number of patients they see.

“We’re definitely seeing that they’re using our application is huge. Our doctors’ visits are doubling; I think one of our doctors is doing two hundred and fifty consults this week, virtually,” he said. 

The telehealth CEO noted that Medici is “text-centric,” meaning that doctors can communicate to patients through the Medici platform to easily refill prescriptions and other meetings that would not require an in-person appointment. 

Further, with applications such as Medici, doctors can speak to patients even if they both do not speak the same language, as Medici offers translation services.

“A doctor could receive messages in Spanish, reading it in English, and their patient is getting the response in perfect Spanish. And we do 100 languages,” Phillips said.

Phillips also said the Trump administration should make the policy permanent, calling the reform a blessing for patients and doctors.

He said, “Yes, I think it’s a great policy, so I absolutely applaud the expansion of telemedicine for Medicare.”

“Wonderful opportunity for doctors, it’s a wonderful opportunity for Medicare. We’ve got doctors that use it for Medicare, and we can tell you it is life-changing,” the Medici CEO emphasized.

Phillips also said that the Trump reform represents a success that other presidential administrations have only teased before.

During former President Barack Obama’s 2011 State of the Union Adress, he teased that with greater access to broadband Internet, more patients could video chat with their doctors.

Obama said that broadband is about “a patient who can have face-to-face video chats with her doctor.”

Phillips said that Trump had accomplished something that other administrations could not.

“They mentioned these, but there was never any action to do it, so I think that this administration already started to move the needle forward with VA before this happened,” Phillips said.

Sean Moran is a congressional reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter @SeanMoran3.

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