The Expansion of Telemedicine Services
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has released a new toolkit advising states on the expansion of telemedicine services in Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). These healthcare payer programs typically serve otherwise uninsured or underinsured populations, including a substantial number of low income, rural, and minority patients. Expanding telemedicine services, therefore, represents a significant improvement of access to care for many seniors, children, and people with disabilities.
Areas Covered Under Reimbursement
The toolkit identifies several areas of telehealth covered under reimbursement codes:
- Evaluation and management services: Routine office visits provided via video.
- Virtual check-ins: Remote evaluations of recorded video or images submitted by an established patient followed by a brief (5-10 minute) check-in with a physician or other provider via telephone or other telecommunications device to decide whether an office visit or other service is needed.
- Asynchronous electronic communication: Communication with an established patient through a patient portal or other online method, resulting in a digital evaluation and management service.
- Remote patient monitoring: Use of digital technologies to collect and transmit health data from individuals to health care providers.
- Critical care or interprofessional consults: Consultative services provided through digital technologies.
Understanding the Growth of Telemedicine
The toolkit also provides data showing the growth in demand for telemedicine within the populations Medicaid and CHIP programs serve. More than 34.5 million services were delivered through telemedicine from March through June of 2020, which is 26 times the number of similar services delivered during the same time period the previous year. Working-age adults received the greatest proportion of telemedicine services, followed by children under 18, and finally seniors.
One particularly useful set of data points in the toolkit identifies the states where telemedicine is growing fastest. In general, moderate growth in telemedicine services seems relatively evenly distributed across much of the country, with somewhat greater focus in the Midwest, perhaps due to the rural environments where telemedicine provides greater access to healthcare for patients who are unable to travel to city centers for care.
RTI Helps Healthcare Providers Achieve Telemedicine Goals
Telemedicine is delivering real-world improvements in healthcare access and effectiveness for patients and providers. But there are many challenges in launching a successful program, which requires careful planning to integrate with existing IT systems and healthcare processes.
RTI has a long track record with both the technology that enables telemedicine and with the unique challenges that face healthcare providers, from system interoperability to managing regulatory compliance. Our engineers are trained to focus on advanced planning to maximize existing resources, reduce the complexity of network systems, and ensure security and regulatory compliance.
If you’d like to learn more about how RTI can help you launch a successful telemedicine program, contact our experts today!
Date Posted: 11/6/20
Date Last Updated: 11/6/20
By: RTI Marketing Team