Once again, CMS doesn't connect with telehealth

by Roy Edroso on Nov 5, 2015

The latest Physician Fee Schedule Final Rule doesn't do much for telehealth -- five new codes allowed, several more proposed services rejected, and no change in the onerous "originating site" rule that keeps telehealth from taking off as a Medicare service.

But the nation's leading telehealth advocacy group isn't complaining. 

Gary Capistrant, chief policy officer for the American Telemedicine Association in Washington, D.C., told Part B News his organization approves the latest telemedicine changes.

Not all telehealth advocates are as sanguine: “Any movement by CMS to recognize the value of professional services rendered using advanced telemedicine technology is appreciated,” says Talbot "Mac" McCormick, M.D., CEO of Eagle Telemedicine in Atlanta, Ga. “Unfortunately, the CMS pace for providing reimbursement for quality services rendered is painfully slow compared to the accelerating capabilities of trained physicians to expand the breadth, quality and efficiency of services that could be available to our patients.”

“With so many other changes taking place, CMS doesn’t have the time or staff to truly devote to what it would take to understand how significant changes to the telehealth reimbursement portions would impact providers or the long-term health of Medicare,” says Todd Searls, executive director of Lincoln, Neb.-based IT consultancy Wide River LLC. “Give it a few years and that’s where they’ll be is my guess.”

Blog Tags: CMS, fee schedule
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