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Taiwan to expand eligibility for remote medical care

Taipei, Sept. 21 (CNA) People in Taiwan who contract COVID-19, have chronic illnesses, or are in hospice care will soon be included in the groups that are eligible to access remote medical care, Vice Minister of Health and Welfare Shih Chung-liang (石崇良) said Wednesday.

The health ministry has already drafted an amendment to the current regulations, which must now go through a 60-day public review process before they could be finalized and implemented, hopefully at the beginning of next year, Shih told reporters at an international conference in Taipei on digital healthcare services and innovations.

Currently, remote medical diagnostics are accessible to people on outlying islands or in remote areas of Taiwan who have either been discharged from hospital and require at least three months of follow-up care, are residents of long-term care facilities, or are registered in the community-level Family Doctor Program, or have obtained government approval for home treatment.

Under the draft amendments to the regulations, the remote medical service will be expanded to include people with chronic illnesses who are in stable condition, those in hospice care and social welfare facilities, prison inmates, and people who contract COVID-19, Shih said.

More than 98 percent of people in Taiwan who become infected with the BA.5 Omicron subvariant of the COVID-19 virus are required to quarantine at home after they are diagnosed, and their medication is prescribed remotely, he said.

The Central Epidemic Command Center currently advises people who test positive for COVID-19 via a rapid antigen home test to book a virtual appointment with a doctor.

The draft amendments to the remote medical diagnostics regulations are expected to be finalized in late December and take effect on January 1, 2023, at the earliest, Shih said.

Legislative approval is not required to pass the amendments.

Source: Focus Taiwan