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Telehealth To Possibly Stay After Pandemic

By Kyle Cunningham


With the stay at home order in Illinois, coupled with social distancing requirements, many healthcare facilities have resort- ed to telemedicine. Telemedicine which involves consultation via phone or online video platforms such as Zoom and Google hang- outs, has become a vital compo- nent to the well being of citizens who need care.

On March 19, Governor JB Pritzker signed an executive order requiring health insur- ance companies and Medicaid to cover services by in-network providers via telephone or video technology at the same rate as in person visits for as long as his disaster proclamation is in place. This also includes access to mental health outreach and substance abuse counseling.

The “temporary” remote ac- cess was thought to be something that would dissipate after the outbreak, however it may in fact stay as permanent xture.

Not only can it bene t those that have a hard time leaving the house with either anxiety or other health concerns, but it also allows for doctors to consult with patients when they usually could

not due to scheduling con icts. This becomes particularly use- ful when it comes to mental health services. Sometimes when making an appointment a client may have to wait a considerable amount of time, before they can be seen again. In some cases that wait time can have an affect on the deterioration of someones mental health.

“Patients have indicated that it’s a more convenient experience in general and they can better focus in the simple things that often get overlooked or pushed to the back burner,” Brent Cum- mins, Director of Adult Addic- tion Treatment and Recovery Support for Chestnut Health Systems said.

Another bene t for telehealth has been seen with those who have the inability to nd trans- portation to attend doctor visits.

“One of the bigger barriers to receiving behavioral health and primary care treatment is transportation. Our patients may not have a driver’s license or may not own a car, but have a smart phone. This allows us to provide a service for a population that may not have reached us other- wise,” Cummins said.

Those in the healthcare also feel like remote medical services

Benevolent and Protective As- sociation, explains “all Jockeys who will be riding races at Fairmont Park are currently working horses in the mornings on our training days. The jock- eys’ quarters are very spacious and they include four separate areas, including: a lounge, that will be opened to ensure the “Rule of Ten” is adhered to. The room valet will be spacing out equipment and wash buckets to allow for social distancing to be adhered to.

The horsemen and Fairmont Park would be more than will- ing to include any other safety measures deemed necessary. Also, race day safety measures are being implemented at other

tracks could easily be done at our facility. These include tak- ing of temperatures and manda- tory wearing of masks and/or bandanas”.

For Spectator free rac- ing, only and additional 25 employees would have to be brought in, of which 15 would be socially distanced or even isolated throughout the event. The others would be socially distanced.

At Governor Pritzker’s daily COVID-19 press conference a reporter, Hannah Misel asked Pritzker the following ques- tion. “Governor both the Il- linois thoroughbred and har-

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will continue to stay even after the pandemic is over. In fact, telehealth has been something that healthcare workers have been advocates for in the past, but state and federal guidelines had previously prevented it.

“It was required that patients see providers “face to face” for organizations like Chestnut to get reimbursed”, he said. “I think there will be enough data and success stories coming out of this situation that will demonstrate to these funding sources that tele- health is a needed clinical tool to keep around to engage people.”

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