The Expansion of Telemedicine Services
Healthcare providers have been urgently transitioning medical services to telemedicine in a push to expand social distancing in facilities by reducing the number of on-site patients and staff. It’s not just about keeping patients at home by way of virtual conferencing, but also about sending physicians and staff home to conduct more of their work off-site.
The Expansion of Reimbursement for Telemedicine Services
One of the barriers to expanding telemedicine services, however, has been ensuring reimbursement from insurers. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has responded once again by expanding the list of reimbursed telemedicine services to 144 specific procedures, adding 11 new services including cardiac rehabilitation.
The expansion of reimbursed telemedicine services is part of the public health emergency for COVID-19, meaning the services will be reimbursed for the duration of the emergency, which has just been renewed another 90 days and now will extend into the New Year. CMS has not detailed which reimbursements will remain after the public health emergency has ended, but CMS Administrator Seema Verma has stated in recent interviews that all telemedicine services will be reviewed for continuation.
CMS has pushed the acceleration of virtual healthcare adoption by supporting legislation to remove barriers to reimbursement across several government payer programs, including Medicare, Medicaid, and the Children’s Health Insurance program. In fact, bipartisan support for legislation like the TIKES Act (Telehealth Improvement for Kids’ Essential Services) may be one of the few areas where politicians are crossing the aisle during a contentious presidential election.
Support for Telemedicine & Reimbursement
Support for telemedicine had been growing long before the pandemic began. Case studies across many different healthcare systems, practice areas, and populations have showed practical gains in healthcare access, cost reductions, and improvements in health outcomes. The pandemic substantially accelerated adoption, in large part due to both patient and provider preference to transition to contactless care whenever practical.
CMS support for increasing reimbursement continues to expand the horizon for telemedicine services. New reimbursed services include certain types of neurostimulator analysis and programming—a device implanted to stimulate spinal or peripheral nerves—as well as cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation programs.
RTI Helps Healthcare Providers Achieve Telemedicine Goals
The growth of 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 one of our experts today!
Date Posted: 10/30/20
Date Last Updated: 10/30/20
By: RTI Marketing Team