In an experience-based essay, Hon. Rick Boucher discusses how Medicare and state telemedicine restrictions have been eased during the coronavirus pandemic, and why these changes need to be made permanent. The most striking change during COVID-19 that organized dentistry must accept is that the Centers for Medicaid & Medicare services has announced that it will not enforce any requirement that the physician using telemedicine have a previous relationship with the patient. Accordingly, any properly licensed doctor or other healthcare professional can provide a reimbursable telemedicine service whether or not they had previously seen the patient.
Rick Boucher was a member of the House for 28 years and chaired the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Communications and the Internet. He is honorary chairman of the Internet Innovation Alliance (IIA) and an attorney in the Washington, D.C., office of the law firm Sidley Austin.