A few days ago, on October 4, 2019, President Trump took an action by Executive Order that I totally agreed with and wholeheartedly applauded. He ordered essentially a jumpstart in the federal government’s support of telemedicine and telehealth services. This was quite a sweeping action and well written, formulated and intentioned. It may in the future be looked upon as one of the more forward-looking actions taken by his Presidency. Years ago, President George W. Bush took such an action that helped to propel the electronic health medical record movement in this country. He got the whole business off the dime so to speak by issuing an Executive Order of his own, that standardized the electronic standard of content of records in EHRs that helped to make them more interchangeable. That helped get things going and was not as well recognized in its time as it should have been.
A very good summary of President Trump’s order appeared in the healthcare periodical “mHEALTH INTELLIGENCE” article entitled: “Trump Pushes Telehealth, Adoption in Medicare Executive Order,” by E. Wicklund.
This action mandates many things. Mostly it asks the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid (CMS) to accelerate the adoption of Medicare Advantage plans of just about anything that facilitates the use of telehealth/telemedicine services and capabilities. This encompasses adoption of coding/reimbursement mechanisms, payment mechanisms and technologies.
This is long overdue. Whoever spearheaded this initiative and Executive Order within the Trump administration is to be commended.
My own hope is that this will also spill over into the mental health services field so that innovative measures can be supported via telepsychiatric means as well.