SO LONG AND THANKS FOR ALL THE FISH
The Department of Labor’s Division of Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation (DEEOIC) still has not responded, either directly or by publishing emergency policies, to ANWAG’s letter of March 10, 2019 or the subsequent emails I submitted, including this one sent yesterday.
It was brought to my attention this morning that Medicare now allows telehealth and will provide the same payment to medical providers for a telehealth visit at the same rate as they would for in-person visits.
Knowing that DEEOIC follows many of the of the Medicare guidelines I want to inquire when DEEOIC will implement this policy. This will reduce the trips to a physician's office just to have a prescription filled or authorization for therapies, etc.
In addition, despite Medicare's exemption of home health care agencies from telehealth, it may be beneficial for some of our less injured workers to be able to telehealth with their in-home health providers. Including home health care workers in the telehealth ability would protect more people without the claimants losing this important benefit.
I look forward to your earliest response,
To summarize, ANWAG requested that DEEOIC issue emergency policies to,
- Allow some patients to obtains more than a 30-day supply of prescription medications.
- Expedite claims for consequential illnesses due to a covered disease.
- Relax the need for an in-person meeting with a treating physician to obtain reauthorization of therapies and home health care.
- Allow telehealth visits between all medical providers.
All of these suggestions will protect the sick worker as well as free up the medical providers to treat the more serious patients.
The silence from DEEOIC is deafening. As I jokingly told a good friend and fellow advocate, I would be happy if they just posted the title of Douglas Adams' fourth book of the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, “So Long and Thanks for All the Fish”. That would at least be some kind of acknowledgement.
DEEOIC should re-read their mission statement,
Our mission is to protect the interests of workers who were injured or became ill on the job, or their families, by making timely, appropriate, and accurate decisions on claims and providing prompt payment of benefits to eligible claimants. (emphasis added)