September’s been a big month for 21st Century technology making overtures to the 50-something Medicare benefit.
It’s all about telehealth—patients at home connecting to their doctors; patients in doctors’ offices connecting to another professional elsewhere, etc.
On Sept. 13, two House panels approved bills that would expand beneficiaries’ access to telehealth services.
First, the House Ways and Means unanimously approved a measure that would expand telehealth access for Medicare managed care beneficiaries. It would let Medicare Advantage plans include telehealth as a base benefit, rather than a supplemental benefit. House Budget Committee Chairman Diane Black (R-Tenn.), a registered nurse, is one of the bill's sponsors.
Later that day, the Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee approved a measure that would expand to cities Medicare payment for a neurological consultation through telemedicine for suspected stroke patients who live in rural areas.
On Sept. 11, comments were due to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services on a doctor rule that proposes to add next year seven new codes or services to the list of Medicare telehealth services. The agency said it expects the changes might improve access to care in rural areas.
On Sept. 7, some of Congress’s Medicare advisers rooted for more telehealth in a session at their September meeting. The 21st Century Cures Act required the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) to report on the extent to which Medicare and commercial plans cover telehealth services.
Use of telehealth services under Medicare's physician fee schedule jumped from 2014 to 2016, MedPAC staff said. Patients’ telehealth visits increased from 5.3 to 9.5 per 1,000 beneficiaries in 2016. Spending for these services went from $16 million to $27 million.
Telehealth should not be seen as a luxury, MedPAC Commissioner Craig Samitt said. “It very much helps contribute to the necessary innovation in care delivery reform,” he said. Samitt is chief clinical officer at Anthem.
So with all the sparks flying this month, perhaps some will ignite an increase in Medicare’s coverage of these services.
Stay on top of new developments in health law and regulation with a free trial to the Health Law Resource Center.
Learn more about Bloomberg Law and sign up for a free trial.
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)