Telemedicine is not for the Space Station, but it aims to get into communities where there is less access to specialists, such as rural areas. Imagine talking to your doctor “face to face” without having to go to his office. This means that you no longer have any problems getting wheelchairs in the van or finding roads that have been cleared of snow in the winter to meet your doctor’s appointment. If you are in a small town, it may also mean that you do not have to travel through the state to see the nearest specialist.
What does telemedicine offer you if you qualify for Medicare? The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services have already proposed new guidelines for the increased use of telemedicine. Seniors and people with disabilities are the ones who benefit most from the increasing use of technology medications.
Mobility often gets harder with age, but with video conferencing, you can still “see” and talk to your doctor without risking a fall when traveling to a doctor’s office. Even in rural areas with little access to specialists, Medicare and Medicare advantage plans can offer you more options in healthcare.
You may have heard that our aging population is expected to increase demand on the current healthcare system. With telemedicine, cities that are having difficulty recruiting skilled workers can also get in touch with specialists in urban settings.
Like Dr. Debra Lister of Douglas explains, “The distance is so far for our seniors here go to a specialist, some of these people just cannot travel – some of our old and poor people could not have made the trip, a terrible amount of them wouldn’t have been treated.”
Thanks to telemedicine, the Lister Clinic can now connect patients to a specialist within two months via videoconferencing. This is only about half the time needed for a personal appointment with a specialist.
This new approach makes Medigap Insurance even more valuable. You’ll probably find that Medicare does not pay for all of your healthcare costs. Medicare pays only 80 percent of a pre-approved fee for medical services.
Telemedicine provides a bridge to improved care
At the University of Nebraska Medical Center, an interactive video system brings Dr. Thomas Magnuson face to face with his patients in nursing homes around the state. He can communicate in the same way with family members and nursing home staff. Magnuson, who is a psychiatrist, says, “We have many isolated places, we only had a large patient population out there that was not attended to.”
Dr. Magnuson uses video conferencing to see and hear his patients as if he’s in the room with them. This technology can connect professionals from urban centers with rural physicians, and their patients can get the care they need when they need it. Even more noteworthy, however, the technology allows surgeons to perform “remote operations” via remote-controlled robots.
Many rural hospitals already have some form of telemedicine, but the growth of telemedicine technology is expected to continue.
Just as telemedicine bridges the gap between patients and specialists, Medicare Advantage Insurance eliminates the financial barriers that have separated people from the health care they need.