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Preserving Telehealth Beyond the COVID-19 Emergency Declaration (Guest: Dr. Josh Umbehr)

May 24, 2022

Telehealth was approved under the emergency declaration during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. The question is, will it be stripped away?

Telehealth was allowed in the early days of COVID-19 under the emergency declaration. Josh Umbehr, M.D, a pioneer in free market health care delivery and founder of Atlas MD, believes telehealth is here to stay. He discusses some of the tough questions that may arise as the gates close on telehealth beyond the emergency declaration for the pandemic.  How do we protect patient privacy? How do we stop waste, fraud and abuse? Patients and health care professionals embraced telehealth during the pandemic. What steps must Congress take to make sure it stays and can be successful.

Patient rights are under threat as the emergency declaration enacted during COVID-19 concludes as expected in mid-July. This theoretically leads to the end of telehealth. Josh Umbehr is the founder of Atlas MD, one of the first direct primary care practices (DPC) in the U.S. DPC has long been using telehealth to help patients faster and more affordably. Because DPC is independent and not reliant on third-party payers, it can bypass restrictions on telehealth. Umbehr also talks about tele-care, gathering patient data using high tech devices, sharing the data to help patients and deliver better care, and related privacy concerns. Additionally, he discusses the recent case where a telehealth company was red-flagged for writing an unusual number of prescriptions for a controlled substance.

Dr. Josh Umbehr’s March 3 op-ed on telehealth is in RealClearHealth: https://www.realclearhealth.com/articles/2022/03/03/is_telehealth_here_to_stay_yes_but_only_if_we_stick_the_landing__111324.html

Atlas MD:  https://atlas.md/wichita/about-us/our-team/josh-umbehr-md/

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Health Care
Author
AnneMarie Schieber is a research fellow at The Heartland Institute and managing editor of Health Care News, Heartland's monthly newspaper for health care reform.
amschieber@heartland.org @HCPolicy