I can really go for this. There is no reason why this hasn’t happened sooner, but whatever it takes for this to happen is fine by me.
A new bill before Congress would give providers freedom to use telehealth on patients anywhere up to 6 months after the COVID-19 crisis, bypassing site restrictions and licensing issues…
“The location of the provision of such services shall be deemed to be the (state in which the provider is located) and any requirement that such physician, practitioner, or other provider obtain a comparable license or other comparable legal authorization from the (state in which the patient is located) with respect to the provision of such services (including requirements relating to the prescribing of drugs in such secondary State) shall not apply,” the bill states.
During the period of most instability like we are in now, ways to make things better that may have been desired before, but are near mandatory now are brought to the forefront due to necessity. This, along with Telehealth, should have been the standard long before now. And as always, its a moot point unless covered by Medicare and Medicaid.
The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology’s (ONC) interoperability rule was finalized in early March, right before the massive spread of the coronavirus pandemic. However, the spread of that virus has put the importance of EHR interoperability under a microscope, health technology experts wrote in a recent post for the MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy…
“If electronic health records had the well-defined interfaces necessary for intercompatibility — such as Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources application programming interfaces — it would be easier to connect and create an ecosystem of third-party service providers,” wrote co-authors Geoffrey Parker, professor at the Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth College, Edward Anderson, professor at the University of Texas McCombs School of Business, and Nora Belcher, executive director of the Texas e-Health Alliance…
“The coronavirus pandemic underscores the potentially deadly implications of the lack of intercompatibility of electronic health records and the need for the tremendous innovation and agility of open platforms,” the group concluded. “In the long term, such innovation will also help the nation cope with the issues of cost.”
“However, for this vision of innovation and data exchange to be realized, governing bodies (including the federal government itself) must require that all electronic health records, no matter their brand, work with one another, and, specifically, that tools like Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources APIs be deployed across the industry.”
“The new code represents a sizeable change to allow providers to efficiently use new technologies to deliver medical care,” says Nathaniel Lacktman, a partner and healthcare lawyer with Foley & Lardner who chairs the firm’s Telemedicine Industry Team and co-chairs its Digital Health Work Group. “By reimbursing for virtual check-ins, the new code exemplifies CMS’ renewed vision and desire to bring the Medicare program into the future of clinically-valid virtual care services.”
The big news in the world of telemedicine is that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services have finally done more than lip service to reimbursement for telemedicine services. In this world, there is an HCPCS code (“Healthcare Common Procedure Coding System,” 2018) for every conceivable service or product. Billing for both the actual visit and any imagery the helps the provider make further intervention decisions has separate codes and rates associated with them (not provided here). CMS is also finalizing policies to pay separately for new coding describing chronic care remote physiologic monitoring (CPT codes 99453, 99454, and 99457) and interprofessional internet consultation (CPT codes 99451, 99452, 99446, 99447, 99448, and 99449) (“Final Policy, Payment, and Quality Provisions Changes to the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule for Calendar Year 2019 | CMS,” 2018, pp. 4–5).
The final rules CMS released this week could advance virtual treatment further and faster than anything the government has done previously, advocates believe.
On Thursday, the agency finalized plans to reimburse physicians for virtually checking in with patients and remotely evaluating recorded images.
Thursday’s rule follows on the heels of a Wednesday CMS rule making it easier for home health agencies to get paid for remote monitoring of patients.
CMS is proposing to loosen restrictions on telehealth access and reimbursement in Medicare Advantage plans to spur more use of connected health technology.
As part of a 362-page proposal issued on October 26, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is proposing to eliminate geographical restrictions on telehealth access in MA plans by 2020, enabling those in urban areas to use connected health technology. The proposal would also give members more locations to access care, including their own home.
The upshot of the proposed changes, which will be posted in the Federal Register on November 1 and open for public comment through December 31, is that healthcare providers will be reimbursed for more uses of connected care technology.