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Doctors Safely visiting Caregivers and Loved Ones

In addition to the boom in tele health, doctors have been making house calls. What are your experiences with this during this delicate time? 

Periodic Contributor

Just got a Grandpad for my mother, who can't even text on a flip-phone. Is there a community here for caregivers trying to use this endorsed product or another user group somewhere? Who is the AARP contact for this benefit? @AARPMichaelP 

 

I am trying to use this for telehealth visits for my parents in NYC, where all the hospitals are doing anything they can to keep people at home and use technology for telehealth. Some are encountering issues with HIPAA rules from administrators, but doctors want to do what it takes to connect with patients....I don't think any are visiting in person there....

 

Thanks!

AARP Expert


@Padrino50 wrote:

Just got a Grandpad for my mother, who can't even text on a flip-phone. Is there a community here for caregivers trying to use this endorsed product or another user group somewhere? Who is the AARP contact for this benefit? @AARPMichaelP 

 

I am trying to use this for telehealth visits for my parents in NYC, where all the hospitals are doing anything they can to keep people at home and use technology for telehealth. Some are encountering issues with HIPAA rules from administrators, but doctors want to do what it takes to connect with patients....I don't think any are visiting in person there....

 

Thanks!


Hi there, Michael Q!

 

I work in a hospital in the primary care clinic as a social worker, and what i'm finding is that people are using telephones first, and sometimes are able to use a telehealth connection on the computer in the clinic to connect with the patient in their homes, using their smart phone. I am not familiar with a "Grandpad" but if it works like any other tablet, it should work. What i would do is call the doctor's office or clinic and ask to speak to the person who's facilitating the 'telehealth' appointments. Sometimes that's the medical assistant or nurse, sometimes it's "IT". 

 

Should i assume that you are long distance from your parents? You're not in NYC? Is there an issue now that they need to 'see' a doctor for? It's so terrible, what's going on in the hospitals there; everyone is stressed out. 

 

I've also received emails that say that HIPAA rules are being relaxed somewhat so that non-HIPAA compliant methods can be used, including Skype. The program we're using at my hospital is doxy.me. But there are others.

 

I hope this is helpful. 

Jane

In Oregon

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Periodic Contributor

Thanks for the reply @JaneCares .

 

Unfortunately, I am way remote from NYC, and my father had a tumor removed as this was all happening...now we need to see if/how radiation treatments can be done...so this is a mess, considering the crazy NYC environment and hospitals closing down almost all outside contact.

 

Grandpad is the product thourgh Consumer Cellular, an AARP benefit provider, but it is not referenced in the HHS/OCR memo outlining how HIPAA rules will be waived at this time. The hospital seems confused either on the technology or their "ability to bill" through their telehealth procedures....

 

Hoping to find some AARP contact for Consumer Cellular, I can't be the first person going through this...

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Hello @Padrino50. Sorry to hear about the situation your family is going through. I have reached out to the appropiate people on our end and hope to have further clairty for you soon. Hang in there!

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@Padrino50 - I was able to find out a bit more about the grandpad device:

 

"From my understanding, the Grandpad is limited to keep it simple, unlike a normal tablet or smartphone. When video calling or voice calling, the person you are calling must have the Grandpad companion app to connect with the Grandpad, so I don’t think a telehealth provider would have that unless they are conducting the telehealth appointment on their personal device or a work cell phone."

 

As I mentioned in my post ealier, soemone from AARP will be reaching out to you. Thank you for your patience!

Periodic Contributor

Thanks @AARPMichaelP for jumping in.

Yes, Grandpad requires an "app" to be downloaded, from what I was told it helps the synchronization between the GrandPad and the other end as it uses the LTE network. The caregiver "controller" person must include this contact in the GrandPad's network and invite that contact to download the app. But this is just like dowloading any other app or tool. And it's from the manufacturer, not some "third party public facing" chat app (which seems to be one sore point with the HIPAA issue).

So considering the one supplier (Consumer Cellular) and AARP's endorsement, one would think medical providers would not have certain conserns...sorta defeats a major purpose of a tool for important needs, versus a toy to have fun. And considering the HHS/OCR memo relaxing HIPAA rules, this is an ideal solution for telehealth under the current crazy environment.

I will leave the very limited language support issue for offline discussion with ASI.

Any other AARP articles/guides on tech solutions to facilitate telehealth? 

 

Cheers!

RQ

 

PS I am reaching out to Catherine H. at ASI as well...

AARP Expert

I see. Wow. File under 'what fresh hell is this', eh?

 

I found this: https://www.hhs.gov/about/news/2020/03/17/secretary-azar-announces-historic-expansion-of-telehealth-...

 

Which says that Health & Human Services is relaxing Hipaa rules during this time to allow for telehealth under less than ideal conditions. It might be tricky to find someone in AARP to answer your questions but if you call member services, they'll do their best to find information.

 

Radiation sounds like a 'follow up' to his primary surgery, an 'adjunct', and as you know is usually daily on weekdays, which is a real inconvenience in NY traffic, although right now there is hardly any traffic. I wonder if Uber is a possibility? I'm sure you've already tried to think through the angles. Does your father live in assisted living, or in his own apartment with your mom? I guess you're trying to get to the radiation oncologist? He's going to have to show up in person to have his head fitted with a mold that will keep his head still for the treatment... (I used to work in a chemo clinic at a university hospital in DC.)

 

Yeah hospitals are hurting and need to be able to bill. Who are you talking to there? Hopefully there's a social worker in radiation/oncology who advise you and hopefully cut through red tape?

 

I'm so sorry. When it rains it pours, sometimes.

Jane

Periodic Contributor

@JaneCares you are on the money there! One of the memos referenced in your link is what the hospital sent me. And the doctor himself is helping cut through the administrative "density".

Juggling all the timing and transportation issues...and hoping maybe we can make it easier for whoever is in the same boat or about to join this crazy cruise...

 

Thanks for understanding.

RQ

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