Telehealth Provisions Added to SGR Repeal Bill

Two amendments increasing Medicare coverage for telehealth services have been added to the Senate's version of the bipartisan bill that would repeal and replace Medicare's sustainable growth rate.

The Senate Finance Committee approved the two amendments Thursday. One amendment aims to increase flexibility for providers using telehealth with an alternative payment model beginning in 2017. The other amendment would create a pilot program to offer budget-neutral incentives for home health and other long-term care agencies to better monitor Medicare patients to prevent unnecessary admissions.

The amendments have been applauded by the American Telemedicine Association. "This is clearly a long-term win for all as Medicare payment for physicians and practitioners shifts to more value-based, all-inclusive payment methods," said Jonathan D. Linkous, CEO of ATA, in a news release.

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