The COVID-19 outbreak is fueling an expansion of telehealth as state and federal officials seek to reduce the strain on the health care system (Source: “Coronavirus spurs growth of telehealth in Ohio,” Columbus Dispatch, March 26, 2020).
Allowing patients to meet with a doctor and get medical services via online video conferencing increases access to care while limiting face-to-face interactions that would occur during office or hospital visits, with the goal of reducing the risk of spreading the disease. It also can preserve personal protection equipment, which is in short supply.
As thousands more Ohioans turn to tax-funded Medicaid for health coverage during the pandemic, Gov. Mike DeWine signed an order last week to expand opportunities for telehealth for the program’s roughly 3 million beneficiaries.
In addition, Ohio Medicaid Director Maureen Corcoran told caseworkers at the county level to suspend annual renewals required to maintain coverage and to focus on enrolling newly eligible applicants as quickly as possible. Applications for the health insurance for the poor and disabled jumped 25% last week from the previous week.