7 things to know about the latest Medicare telehealth reimbursement bill

New telemedicine legislation introduced in the Senate seeks to promote the access to and use of telemedicine by waiving Medicare's restrictions on when it will cover services delivered remotely.

Here are seven things to know about the bill.

1. The Creating Opportunities Now for Necessary and Effective Care Technologies, or the CONNECT for Health Act, was introduced by Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii).

2. Like previous bills, the CONNECT for Health Act seeks to eliminate Medicare's location-based reimbursement restrictions.

3. The bill also proposes a program in which providers meeting goals of the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act and the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System can receive waivers exempting them from Medicare restrictions on telehealth coverage.

4. Additionally the CONNECT for Health Act wants to expand the use of remote patient monitoring for patients with chronic conditions and make telehealth and remote patient monitoring basic benefits in Medicare Advantage plans.

5. An Avelere Health study analyzing the potential cost or savings of the proposed changes found the proposed policies would decrease federal spending by $1.8 billion.

6. "Telehealth is the future of healthcare. It saves money and improves health outcomes," said Sen. Schatz. "Our bipartisan bill puts us on a path to transform healthcare delivery, making it less costly and more convenient for patients and providers."

7. The American Medical Association, American Telemedicine Association, Oakland, Calif.-based Kaiser Permanente, Anthem, Cerner and Pittsburgh-based UPMC are among the organizations endorsing the legislation.

More articles on telemedicine:

Medicaid permits telehealth ‘face-to-face’ visits in certain home care services
The best & worst states for telemedicine
Jeb Bush plugs telemedicine at Nevada press event

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