Wednesday, June 2, 2021

Very Brief Blog: GAO Reports to Congress on Telehealth & Virtual Healthcare; Broader Industry and Policy Implications

 On May 19, 2021, two GAO directors for Health Care policy reported to Congress (Senate Finance Committee) on telehealth, changes during the pandemic, and outlook.

See the GAO's 27 page submission here.   See trade press here and here and here.

See the SFC homepage for the meeting, with a 3 hour video archive, here.  Note also an 8-page testimony from the Urban Institute's Medicare expert, Robert Berenson, here.   He thinks telemedicine should be carved out as a capitated service.

I've put an as-is, unofficial, 2 hour, 25,000 word computer-generated auto transcript in the cloud here.

These reports are important because they could have a lot of impact on the pace and direction of innovation in healthcare delivery.   For example, the virtual mental health startup Ginger just raised $100M, here, and another $100M just went to the virtual mental health company Mindstrong, here.  And the merger of Teladoc and Livongo was valued at $18B.    And policies can be impactful, for example, in March, MedPAC recommended to CMS and Congress that telemedicine orders not be allowed for genetics (here).  It's head-spinning.

See a May 2021 Health Affairs blog on payment for FDA-approved digital prescription therapeutics, here.  See also multiple articles on telemed/telehealth policy here, here, here, here.