Page 15 - Senior Times South Central Michigan October 2020 - 27-10
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 Senior Times - October 2020 How Can I Prepare
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for a Telehealth Visit?
By: Sherii Sherban, Publisher
To get the most out of a remote visit with your doctor or health care provider, ideally you should have the following:
• A telephone line.
• A high-speed internet connection
• Video access through a smart phone,
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tablet or computer.
• Any app used by your provider to
connect, which should be downloaded beforehand.
receive via a telehealth visit will be covered.
To connect with a doctor for a virtu- al visit, at a minimum you need a tele- phone line. These days, most providers are also looking to connect with you visually. This will require the internet, and a high-speed connection tends to work a lot better than a slower link. Ideally a faster broadband connection provides a clearer picture without lag.
• Prepare like you would for any other appointment. Jot down ques- tions, symptoms, and medications (or have them with you). Also have any recent home monitoring results on hand.
The connection should be strong enough to stream video, but it doesn't have to be the highest quality or speed available. If you can watch movies through your Wi-Fi connection, you have more than enough to get through a telemedicine visit. A phone line can be a good back up option if the video call drops or the technology otherwise doesn’t work.
• Double check your equipment. Check to make sure that your equip- ment is ready beforehand to prevent delays. Check that the volume is up and camera access has been granted to the appropriate application before the call starts.
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It's important to use the telehealth platform that your personal medical provider is using. They can all be eas- ily accessed and downloaded onto any device.
• Have a pen and paper ready. This is “to jot down notes, new questions, and recommendations the provider might have. Even though some pro- viders will email you a summary note after the visit, it’s helpful if you have taken your own notes during the call.
There’s plenty of things you can do ahead of time to help ensure a better virtual visit with your doctor.
• Make sure your paperwork is filled
out. Check with your doctor’s office to be sure your paperwork is up-to- date and accurate beforehand.
• Choose a quiet setting. Don’t sit outside; extra noise may interfere with the call as well as compromise the privacy of your visit. Avoid posi- tioning yourself in front of a bright window, rather have the light on your face. Be sure your doctor can see your eyes. Use a stand to keep the device still.
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• Make sure your doctor has the information they need prior to the call. That way, the provider can “have it in hand and can review it prior to the visit.” This saves time and helps focus the call on the most important aspects of managing your chronic condition.
• Check with your insurance compa- ny. Because many rules surrounding telehealth have changed rapidly, it’s best to double check ahead of time with your health insurance provider that the service you’re seeking to
• Focus on the session. Just as you would during an office visit, eliminate distractions and interruptions during the virtual visit and give your provid- er your undivided attention. Shut off notifications on your cell phone.
Social Security Announces
New Online Video Hearings
By: Vonda Vantil, Social Security Public Affairs Specialist
The Social Security Administration announced a new service for people awaiting a hearing decision. In addition to telephone hearings, Social Security will offer the opportunity for an online video hearing using the Microsoft Teams platform beginning this fall. This new free service will allow applicants and their representatives to participate in the hearing from anywhere they have access to a camera-enabled smartphone, tablet, or computer. This stable and secure online platform allows the Social Security judge to see and interact with applicants and their representatives just like an in-person hearing, while main- taining privacy of the claimant’s infor- mation. Other hearing experts, such
as medical or vocational experts, may participate as well.
For the new online video hearings, whether the device is a laptop, smart- phone, or tablet on either iPhone or Android, people will experience a clear picture and audio of the ALJ and their representative during their hearing.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of find- ing new ways to serve the public,” said Commissioner of Social Security Andrew Saul. “For over a decade, the agency has used video hearings to get applicants their hearing decisions sooner. This advancement builds on that effort, making it easier and more
For updates on the implementation and expansion of this new hearing ser- vice, and other Social Security informa- tion, please visit the agency’s COVID- 19 web page at coronavirus/.
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• Consider having someone else join you. Depending on the type of visit you’ll be having and what will be dis- cussed, it might be helpful to have a family member or friend sit in on the call with you to help take notes or to raise other concerns with the provider if you forget something.
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or injury.
convenient to attend a hearing remote- ly, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic. To continue to ensure all participants’ safety, we expect online video hearings and telephone hearings will be the only two hearing options for the foreseeable future.”
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Social Security has been conducting appeal hearings with Administrative Law Judges (ALJ) via telephone only since March, while offices remain closed to the public to protect the health and safety of the public and employees. The agency’s ALJs have held more
than 180,000 telephone hearings since March, allowing the agency to continue to deliver critical customer service.

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