COVID-19: IL Docs Laud Pritzker’s Order that Health Insurers Cover Telehealth Services

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)
Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). (CDC)

Chicago, IL-(ENEWSPF)- The Illinois State Medical Society lauded an Executive Order from Governor J.B. Pritzker requiring health insurer coverage of telehealth services. The move comes in the midst of the COVID-19 global pandemic.

Paul E. Pedersen, MD, President of the Illinois State Medical Society, released the following statement Thursday afternoon:

“The Illinois State Medical Society applauds Governor Pritzker’s Executive Order requiring health insurer coverage of telehealth services.” Dr. Pedersen said. “We reached out to his office yesterday with the Illinois Health and Hospital Association seeking action to require that health insurers cover virtual patient encounters. We are facing unprecedented disruptions to healthcare delivery and his decisive action will save lives.

“We echo Governor Pritzker’s call for physicians to sign up for the State of Illinois Rapid Electronic Notification System (SIREN) to receive urgent COVID-19 alerts. Health professionals can learn how to sign up for this Illinois Department of Public Health program by visiting www.isms.org/COVID-19.”

“Telehealth is the use of digital information and communication technologies, such as computers and mobile devices, to access health care services remotely and manage your health care,” the Mayo Clinic’s website says. “These may be technologies you use from home or that your doctor uses to improve or support health care services.”

The Illinois State Medical Insurance Exchange (ISMIE) notes that U.S. Health and Human Services (HHS) relaxed HIPAA penalties for telehealth during COVID-19 outbreak, “Effective immediately, physicians may use any audio or video communication technology that is non-public facing to care for patients, and they won’t face penalties if these telehealth technologies do not fully comply with HIPAA regulatory requirements. That’s according to an announcement from the HHS Office of Civil Rights, which has chosen to exercise its HIPAA enforcement discretion due to the COVID-19 public health emergency. Note that this applies to patients being treated for any reason, and is not limited to only those patients being treated for suspected COVID-19.”