Envision Healthcare, a leading national medical group, released a new policy white paper today on virtual health. The white paper details Envision’s rapid escalation of virtual health services in response to COVID-19, the benefits of this technology as the healthcare system navigates patient care going forward, and the need for policymakers to adopt permanent reforms that allow clinicians to deliver safe and effective care through virtual health services.
“The COVID-19 pandemic is far from over, and as healthcare providers, it’s our job to adapt to the ‘new normal’ so we can continue providing high-quality care to patients,” said Matthew Bush, MD, President of Integrated Markets and Virtual Health at Envision. “During this pandemic and beyond, virtual health services will be critical to protecting patients and providers, increasing access to specialists, reducing costs while maintaining the quality of care, and reducing healthcare disparities for underserved patients. Virtual health is a tool that should be available to every provider, and we need the policies that allow clinicians to best care for patients to become permanent.”
Prior to COVID-19, virtual health has been largely inaccessible in the U.S. According to the American Medical Association, only 15 percent of physicians routinely used virtual health technology in 2016. In response to COVID-19, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services adopted temporary reforms to expand virtual health. Envision’s white paper calls for those reforms to be made permanent.
Since the expansion of virtual health services enabled by CMS, Envision clinicians and health professionals have delivered more than 118,000 virtual health visits in the acute setting (e.g., emergency, intensive care, surgical) and more than 100,000 virtual office visits.
The full white paper is available here.
Virtual health has been a significant part of Envision’s commitment to patients during the COVID-19 pandemic. Envision has taken a series of actions to respond to sharp increases in COVID-19 patients and protect and support its clinicians on the front lines that also include:
- Mobilizing to meet the need for more physicians and advanced practice providers across the nation.
- Securing more than 5 million items of PPE, including masks, face shields, gowns, and goggles to support Envision’s clinicians and hospital partners.
- Treating every patient regardless of their ability to pay.