Stakeholders applaud proposed expansion of Medicare coverage for telemedicine services, call for more coverage

CMS' annual proposed modifications to the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule, released in July, included an expanded list of services for which Medicare will reimburse eligible physicians. Seven new billing codes will reimburse physicians for telemedicine well visits, behavioral and mental health visits and several other remotely delivered services.

Industry stakeholders have mostly applauded the expanded telemedicine coverage in comments recently submitted to CMS. Groups like the American Hospital Association, the American Medical Association and the American Telemedicine Association all support the measures and have issued calls for coverage to be expanded even further. The American Hospital Association "supports CMS's proposal to add seven new codes to its list of approved Medicare telehealth services and encourages the agency to consider adding other services in future rulemaking," according to a letter.

The College of Healthcare Information Management Executives and the Association of Medical Directors of Information Systems echoed the sentiment in a joint letter, but also recognized room for further expansion: "CHIME and AMDIS support CMS policies that promote the use of telehealth and mobile technologies to expand healthcare access, help control costs and improve quality care for rural and underserved populations. We applaud the proposals offered by CMS in this NPRM to expand coverage, but would encourage CMS to consider a bolder approach. Namely, we believe CMS should reconsider its definition of originating site, both the geographic boundaries and the eligibility process."

More articles on telemedicine:

Healthpointe to offer video consultations
New Georgia telemedicine rules require in-person examination first
10-year study shows telestroke improves outcomes in rural areas

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