6 groups respond to telehealth expansion under 2018 proposed Medicare Physician Fee Schedule

CMS released its updated 2018 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule in July, which proposed reimbursement models for a variety of new telehealth services.

The proposed rule would expand telehealth services under Medicare to cover lung cancer screening eligibility, care planning for chronic care management, psychotherapy for crisis and health risk assessments. However, in submitted feedback due Monday, some provider and health IT groups pushed CMS for even more flexibility.

Here is how six healthcare groups responded to the rule's proposed changes to telehealth coverage.

The American Medical Association said CMS should encompass a "broader range and scope of demonstration projects that waive geographic and originating site restrictions." It added Medicare providers should offer better care at lower cost and expressed concerns the codes for remote patient monitoring were too general.

The American Medical Informatics Association requested CMS work with the Federal Communications Commission to expand rural broadband access, which it called a social determent of health.

The Center for Connected Health Policy urged the agency to cover store-and-forward telehealth services and expand telehealth reimbursement through Medicare Advantage plans.

The Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society encouraged CMS to more narrowly define telehealth and "consider applying waivers as broadly as is legally permissible" under its statute.

Health IT Now said CMS should also reimburse for physical, occupational and speech-language therapy services delivered via telehealth. The group added that Medicare's telehealth services are "woefully out of date," but a change in physician licensure could help solve this problem.

The Personal Connected Health Alliance called on CMS to expand telehealth payments because the new codes "insufficiently [incorporate] the entire range of telehealth services."

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