Telehealth Gets Whole New Boost From CMS

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services will pay for a wider range of telemedicine services during the coronavirus pandemic including remote patient monitoring for both chronic and acute conditions, not just related to coronavirus treatment, and allowing doctors to collect Medicare payments for making phone calls to patients. CMS previously required that consultations have both audio and visual elements. Some medical groups had pushed the agency to remove that requirement, arguing that some sessions can easily be conducted over the phone.

2020 Census, starring the internet

April 1 marked the Census Bureau’s biggest push yet to get Americans to participate in the once-in-a-decade count. The outcome will not only determine communities' representation in Congress but will also have far-reaching implications for funding for schools, hospitals, emergency services and other institutions that have been central to the war on Covid-19. And thank God for the internet. Luckily, this is the first time Americans can respond by mail, phone or online — and the agency expects a surge in participation thanks to the latter.

FCC Finds Time to Weigh Media Bureau Consolidation

Media industry, take note: As of the past week, a Federal Communications Commission action item is now circulating that could spell some structural changes within the FCC, specifically within its Media Bureau that deals with TV and radio issues. “If adopted, this proposal would consolidate the Media Bureau’s Engineering Division with the Bureau’s Industry Analysis Division,” an FCC spokesperson said. For the coming fiscal year, the FCC requested funding for 131 full-time employees for its Media Bureau, a number that’s been dwindling in recent years amid the changing media landscape.

Digital 'homework gap' emerges as sticking point in coronavirus pandemic talks

Capitol Hill is locked in a fight over how much money to funnel to help students and teachers sidelined by the coronavirus pandemic get access to online learning, creating uncertainty for school districts as lawmakers and the White House rush to finalize a package of emergency measures. Millions of students are currently stuck at home as schools across the nation close, some without access to broadband internet and other tools needed to engage in remote learning.