The RUSH Act of 2018 is a proposed bill that aims to reduce readmissions at qualified skilled nursing facilities by giving them more incentives to use telemedicine and telehealth to improve patient care. Congress is currently working to have Medicare embrace telehealth programs which would allow skilled nursing facilities the right to use the latest virtual technology. In a bit simpler terms, this act would allow facilities that care for seniors to receive telemedicine capabilities or at least encourage them to adopt the telemedicine options, in order to reduce the number of senior hospitalizations.
Although this may seem unnecessary, a bit of insight points out that most senior care facilities, or nursing homes, are unable to tackle even the smallest of emergencies. When emergencies arise, seniors have to be transported to the nearest hospital for further care. This can pose a few major issues. One, seniors that are in care facilities, often have health issues that require they be under constant watch. This means that getting them out and about, transporting them, changing their environment, etc. can be detrimental and cause further health issues. Two, being introduced into a hospital environment can raise the risk of infection or the chance to catch other viruses, illnesses, etc. Three, 20% of all transfers at hospitals come from nursing homes or senior care facilities and almost half of them could have been avoided altogether.
This bill would allow CMS (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services) to reimburse the qualified nursing homes and senior care facilities for the equipment or technology they would need to set up telemedicine capabilities. In turn, the benefits to not only the quality of care provided for seniors would increase but, the access to proper care would increase along with quicker responses to care. Further, this bill would allow for rehospitalizations to drop significantly as far as nursing homes and senior care facilities are concerned which would lower the other risks involved for the senior patients as well.
Overall, the Rush Act would allow seniors who are in a care facility, to have access to telemedicine. This access would help caregivers offer better, quicker, and more efficient care to their patients. Further, readmissions and other risks would be removed for many seniors being cared for. One of the two largest issues being faced in senior care facilities currently is the lack of timely care and the negative health implications on senior patients that need more timely care but, don’t have access to it. Telemedicine would change all of that and allow senior care centers to do a more thorough job without tying their hands due to lack of resources and access to updated technology.