In Healthcare, All Signs Point to Digital Transformation and Monetization - Industry analysis by Loyale Healthcare

LAFAYETTE, Calif., Aug. 12, 2020 /PRNewswire-PRWeb/ -- When 2020 began, none of us could have predicted what the year would hold. Apart from a handful of experts around the world whose livelihoods revolve around the dynamics of epidemics and pandemics, our expectations for the first year of the new decade were, more or less, business as usual. Instead, the ins and outs of everyday life in America have been upended. Millions have lost jobs; companies are struggling, and the American economy just experienced its biggest monthly drop in GDP in history. As difficult as the last several months have been, the challenges presented by the COVID-19 crisis have been met with innovation and collaboration that can't help but inspire and encourage anyone who has been paying attention. Nowhere is this truer than in healthcare, where physicians, caregivers, scientists, administrators and, yes, regulators have stepped up in extraordinary ways to serve patients and solidify a new vision for healthcare in the future. Three recent events underscore the significance of this "new vision" for healthcare. The first is the announcement of the proposed payment rules for 2021 by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). The second is the news that Teledoc Health, a "world leader in virtual care," has acquired Livongo, a company whose "team of data scientists aggregate and interpret substantial amounts of health data and information to create actionable, personalized and timely health signals" to "empower people with chronic conditions to live better and healthier lives." These two events signify what will certainly become one of the most durable legacies of the COVID-19 experience. Namely, the growth and expansion of digital, virtual care. The third story is CVS Health's just-reported profit of $3.2 billion in the second quarter. Sign Number One - Medicare and Medicaid Are Promoting VirtualCMS's "Proposed Policy, Payment, and Quality Provisions Changes to the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule for Calendar Year 2021" or PFS sets the tone for 2021 and beyond by proposing reimbursement policies to healthcare providers "to create a healthcare system that results in better accessibility, quality, affordability, empowerment, and innovation." Significantly, the proposal expands and extends "telehealth and other services involving communications technology." Further, it proposes the creation of a "third temporary category of criteria" for adding services to the list of Medicare telehealth services. These are telehealth services added to the PFS during the COVID-19 public health emergency and would be in effect through the calendar year in which the emergency ends.
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