Last week CMS released its finalized Calendar Year (CY) 2019 Physician Fee Schedule containing momentous changes for Medicare, aiming to modernize the healthcare system and help “restore the doctor-patient relationship” by reducing administrative burden. Among the changes, the proposed rule not only expands telehealth reimbursement, but communicates a new interpretation by CMS of the applicability of their statutory requirements for reimbursement of telehealth. Telehealth-delivered services under Medicare is limited in statute by 1834(m) of the Social Security Act which limits the use of telehealth to certain services, providers, technology (mainly live video) and patient locations (needing to be in certain types of healthcare facilities in rural areas). CMS, in their rule, expresses concern that these requirements may be limiting the coding for new kinds of services that utilize communication technology.
CCHP monitors both state and federal legislation, identifies barriers to telehealth use, and provides policy technical assistance to the regional telehealth resource centers and state and federal policymakers. As the federally designated National Telehealth Policy Resource Center (NTRCP), CCHP provides policy technical assistance, legislative tracking, and policy analyses to twelve regional telehealth policy resource centers (TRCs) nationwide.