On 17 March 2020, the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has broadened access to Medicare telehealth services so that beneficiaries can receive a wider range of services from their doctors without having to travel to a healthcare facility. The policy changes in their 1135 Waiver in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic build upon the regulatory flexibilities granted under the federal emergency declaration, and CMS has relaxed requirements for HIPAA compliance on platforms for telehealth services:

“What makes this latest development even more expansive is that CMS also waived enforcement of HIPAA health privacy law violations against providers acting in good faith. This means that everyday communication tools such as FaceTime and Skype, which previously couldn’t be used because they weren’t technically HIPAA-compliant, can now be used for doctors to evaluate patients. It remains to be seen how existing health systems and providers may use these technologies. Privacy remains a paramount concern, and while doctors may not wish patients to be texting them photos and questions on their personal phones, it is now a legitimate option.”

Therefore, beginning on Wednesday 01 April 2020, Summit Medicine and Pediatrics will offer to established patients the option to engage with Dr. Mike through Skype© or FaceTime©. It is necessary for all patients who wish to do so to read, acknowledge, sign and return Summit’s Consent for Telemedicine Services:


The signed Summit Telemedicine Consent Form must be returned to us prior to our scheduling our patients’ first telehealth office visit with Dr. Mike. Te;lemedicine Services at Summit Medicine and Pediatrics will be available temporarily, and for as long as CMS maintains a relaxed requirement for HIPAA compliance on platforms for telehealth services. Here are the benefits, risks and alternatives to telemedicine:


Telemedicine is being utilized for the following reason(s):

  • Convenience of encounter for the patient
  • Access to healthcare technology not physically readily available
  • Need for expertise from a consultant not readily available
  • Reduce risk for exposure to infectious disease (e.g. COVID-19)


The reasonably foreseeable risks of utilizing telemedicine may include:

  • Audio or visual images may not be as reliable or accurate as in person
  • Telemedicine physicians cannot utilize the senses of touch and smell to assist in diagnosis, treatment or therapy
  • Telemedicine platforms may not be encrypted or designed to optimize protection of health information


The possible alternatives to telemedicine may be:

  • Travel to see physician or consultant in person or to undergo the testing/procedure
  • Undergo therapy available locally which may not produce desired result
  • Telephonic communication (without video or data communication) with physician or consultant

Contact Summit Medicine and Pediatrics at 480-981-9000 for more information and to schedule your first telemedicine visit with Dr. Mike!