You know you’ve made it to the big leagues when the government decides to audit you, and that’s exactly what’s happened with the Medicaid telehealth program. The Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General recently added an investigation of the Medicaid telehealth program to its work plan, with a report due in fiscal year 2019. The audit was motivated by the surge in Medicaid telehealth claims and will look at whether the claims met Medicaid billing requirements.
An OIG audit is a positive step for telehealth providers, signaling that the program is a viable service, Nathaniel Lacktman, a health-care attorney with Foley & Lardner LLP in Tampa, Fla., told me. Medicaid telehealth is nearly universal, Lacktman said, with 48 out 50 states offering the service.
Telehealth has proven to be popular with patients, and can also help state Medicaid agencies cut costs, Lacktman said. Many state Medicaid agencies are currently paying for patient transportation to a provider for medical services, but a larger shift to telehealth would reduce that cost, as patients wouldn’t have to take as many trips, Lacktman said.
However, some obstacles remain for telehealth services, Lacktman said. For example, many hospitals have explored the idea of “off-shoring” their telehealth services, i.e. contracting with physicians who are based overseas. There’s a big incentive in these arrangements, as they can lower costs, but off-shore telehealth can’t be billed to Medicaid, Lacktman said.
Another potential stumbling block is the growth of text-based telehealth, where patients and doctors communicate via text messages or similar applications, Lacktman said. Many state Medicaid agencies require telehealth to include either a video or audio component, so the text-based arrangement may run into some trouble.
Read my full story here.
Stay on top of new developments in health law and regulation, and learn more, by signing up for a free trial to Bloomberg Law.
All Bloomberg BNA treatises are available on standing order, which ensures you will always receive the most current edition of the book or supplement of the title you have ordered from Bloomberg BNA’s book division. As soon as a new supplement or edition is published (usually annually) for a title you’ve previously purchased and requested to be placed on standing order, we’ll ship it to you to review for 30 days without any obligation. During this period, you can either (a) honor the invoice and receive a 5% discount (in addition to any other discounts you may qualify for) off the then-current price of the update, plus shipping and handling or (b) return the book(s), in which case, your invoice will be cancelled upon receipt of the book(s). Call us for a prepaid UPS label for your return. It’s as simple and easy as that. Most importantly, standing orders mean you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you’re relying on. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.960.1220 or by sending an email to email@example.com.
Put me on standing order at a 5% discount off list price of all future updates, in addition to any other discounts I may quality for. (Returnable within 30 days.)
Notify me when updates are available (No standing order will be created).
This Bloomberg BNA report is available on standing order, which ensures you will all receive the latest edition. This report is updated annually and we will send you the latest edition once it has been published. By signing up for standing order you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you need. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.372.1033, option 5, or by sending us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Put me on standing order
Notify me when new releases are available (no standing order will be created)