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June 11, 2020

Around the nation: Verma says expanded access to telehealth should continue after Covid-19 epidemic

Daily Briefing

    CMS Administrator Seema Verma on Tuesday said officials are looking at ways to extend telehealth expansions that were implemented in light of America's new coronavirus epidemic after the epidemic ends—without action from Congress, in today's bite-sized hospital and health industry news from Arizona, California, and Maryland.

    • Arizona: Cara Christ, director of Arizona's Department of Health Services, on June 6 sent a letter urging hospitals in the state to prepare for an influx of patients with Covid-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, and to activate their Covid-19 emergency plans, as the rate of newly confirmed cases of the virus has increased over the past few weeks. Since Arizona's stay-at-home order ended on May 15, the state has seen a 115% increase in newly confirmed cases of the virus (Kelley, "Changing America," The Hill, 6/9; Hay, Reuters, 6/9; Leingang, Arizona Republic, 6/9).

    • California: Kaiser Permanente has officially named Gregory Adams as the healthy system's chair and CEO. Adams has been serving as interim chair and CEO since Nov. 10, 2019, when the health system's former chair and CEO, Bernard Tyson, suddenly died. Adams has worked for Kaiser since 1999 (Rinker, San Francisco Business Times, 6/8).

    • Maryland: CMS Administrator Seema Verma on Tuesday said telehealth expansions that the agency allowed in light of the America's new coronavirus epidemic should continue after the epidemic ends, and officials are looking at ways to keep the expansions intact without action from Congress. "I can't imagine going back," Verma said. "People recognize the value of this, so it seems like it would not be a good thing to force our beneficiaries to go back to in-person visits" (Ross, STAT News, 6/9).

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