Eric Hargan, U.S. deputy secretary of health and human services, was flanked by Door County Medical Center CEO Brian Stephens (left) and U.S. Rep. Mike Gallagher during a visit to Door County Medical Center on Sept. 3.
Hargan was in Sturgeon Bay to tout the rural action plan signed by President Donald Trump in August that creates permanent access to telehealth.
“In telehealth, we’ve seen an explosion during the pandemic,” Hargan said. “We went from 14,000 beneficiaries of telehealth services in the first week of March to more than 10 million beneficiaries now.”
Stephens said Door County Medical Center had never performed telehealth visits before the pandemic, but it has since performed more than 2,000 such visits.
Hargen attributed past hesitation to use telehealth services to cost issues, but Stephens said it was more an issue of physicians growing comfortable with the level of care they could provide through telehealth.
“It’s been largely the medical community reacting to not being able to lay their hands on patients,” Stephens said. “COVID forced the situation. Some things are appropriate for it; some things are not.”