30 Dec The Case for Telemedicine Within Workers’ Compensation Guidelines
The Winner in the COVID-19 Battle is…Telemedicine
Since COVID-19 first reared its ugly little head back in February 2020 (even earlier by some accounts), people everywhere had to make lifestyle adjustments quickly. Some changes were difficult, especially for those who were older, living alone, and those who had little to no internet access. If you had internet access, the world was still an open place, albeit on a virtual level.
Many workers found they could still work if the employer agreed to let them work from home. This, alone, changed how the workplace would evolve from now to (probably) kingdom come.
Manual labor jobs, for obvious reasons, still needed a physical appearance for work to continue. This was most apparent in the food packaging industry, transportation industry, manufacturing industry, and more. Healthcare providers became big heroes to the public for the hard work most endured, just trying to keep people alive long enough for recovery to take place.
Telemedicine Rapidly Expands
In healthcare, one of the greatest advances occurred with telemedicine when people found they had little to no access to medical attention as the lockdown began across the country. Here is a little background to know about how this program got started.
Telemedicine began as a rural solution to those without access to medical facilities and healthcare professionals. The first test run was conducted at the Papago Indian Reservation in southwest Arizona. The project was backed by Kaiser Foundation International, Lockheed Missiles, and Space Company, along with NASA, who was interested in applying such principles to astronauts while on a mission.
Starting in 2009, with the American Recovery and Investment Act (ARRA) and the HITECH Act, many reforms and advancements were instigated within medical technology, according to an online article at mHealthintelligence.com, written by Vera Gruessner. In 2010, President Obama expanded broadband capabilities to improve network access across the country, which also included connecting health and medical networks, electronic records, the ability to monitor patients remotely, and advanced telemedicine.
With the onset of COVID-19, telemedicine is now available to more patients, when using both video and audio capabilities to “meet” with patients rather than making unnecessary trips to the doctor’s office. If tests are needed, kits for collecting samples are sent to the patient who then sends the collected samples to test centers. It is a convenience a long time in coming to the forefront of healthcare.
Arizona Passed a Regulatory Law Overseeing Telehealth- HB 2454 (May 5, 2021)
The regulatory law, HB 2454, oversees audio calls between the doctor and the patient and is covered by Medicare, along with other insurance providers, including workers’ compensation insurance. The value of telemedicine and the willingness of patients and doctors to use the tools needed to conduct such virtual visits, cannot be denied. In some cases, it was the difference between life and potential death when infected wounds needed antibiotics prescribed quickly but there was no other help available.
If You Do Not Have a General Practitioner, Get One Now
Once you have selected a general practitioner and have had several visits in place along with a full health rundown of your statistics, you open a wealth of information. Your doctor can recommend a specialist for what currently ails you.
You can get emergency prescriptions if you are ill and cannot make an office visit. Workers’ compensation insurance will likely cover all telemedicine occurrences and your doctor will always check first to make sure the virtual visit will be within the treatment guidelines. If you are having trouble with getting medical assistance, call an Arizona workers’ compensation attorney immediately.
Arizona Injury Law Group offers experienced and Certified workers’ compensation lawyers and legal services for injured workers. Call for your free consultation! 480-300-7273.