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policy Archives - National Consortium of Telehealth Research Centers

From Broadband to Medicare Reimbursement, Federal Policies Look at Expanding Access Through Telehealth

By | Center for Connected Health Policy

Original Source: Center for Connected Health Policy

 

CY 2020 Final Physician Fee Schedule Released
The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) published their final CY 2020 Physicians Fee Schedule (PFS) in the first week of November. CMS has finalized the addition of three new codes for a bundled episode of care for treatment of opioid use disorder to the list of services that are eligible for telehealth reimbursement.   CMS is allowing these services to be delivered at any telehealth originating site, including the patient’s home without regard for the geographic requirement, in accordance with the SUPPORT Act. Additionally, CMS has adopted a bundled payment structure for opioid use disorder (OUD) treatment by opioid treatment programs (OTPs), which would allow for the counseling and therapy components to be delivered via live interactive video.  CMS has also taken steps to further refine its transitional care management (TCM) and chronic care management (CCM) codes, and create new codes for principal care management (PCM) services for patients that have only one serious chronic condition.  They also issued a clarification for federally qualified health centers (FQHCs) and rural health clinics (RHCs) that remote physiologic monitoring codes are not reimbursable in FQHC or RHC settings because it is considered included in their RHC All-Inclusive Rate (AIR) or FQHC Prospective Payment System (PPS) sum.  Finally, based on feedback CMS received that obtaining consent for each and every communication technology-based service is burdensome, they have revised this policy for CY 2020 to only require consent once a year for technology-based services.

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Federal CONNECT Act Seeks to Expand Access to Telehealth in Medicare

By | Center for Connected Health Policy

Original Source: Center for Connected Health Policy

 

Last week S. 2741 (Sen. Schatz) and HR 4932 (Rep. Thompson), the Creating Opportunities Now for Necessary and Effective Care Technologies (CONNECT) for Health Act of 2019 (CONNECT Act), were introduced in order to amend the Social Security Act to expand access to telehealth in the Medicare program. Medicare currently only reimburses for live-video telehealth services, and asynchronous services (store-and-forward) is not permitted for reimbursement (except for Federal telemedicine demonstration programs in Alaska or Hawaii). Additionally, current law places specific restrictions on the originating site (i.e. the physical location of the patient), practitioner at the distant site (i.e. the physical location of the practitioner) and types of services that can be delivered. One of the most significant restrictions is requiring the patient to be located in a rural area, although there are some exceptions for specific circumstances.

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Updated 50 State Telehealth Laws & Reimbursement Policies Report

By | Center for Connected Health Policy

Original Source: Center for Connected Health Policy

 

An updated Fall 2019 version of CCHP’s “State Telehealth Laws and Reimbursement Policies” Report is available today!  The Fall 2019 edition offers policymakers, health advocates and other interested health care professionals a detailed compendium of state telehealth laws, regulations and Medicaid policies.  The report also includes an executive summary, which summarizes CCHP’s findings along with an “At a Glance” Infographic and Chart that highlights key data points from the report.  CCHP’s online interactive map tool has also been updated with all of the newest information from this update.

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Telehealth Policy This Month

By | Center for Connected Health Policy

Original Source: Center for Connected Health Policy

In May 2019, the University of Michigan National Poll on Healthy Aging conducted a national poll on the experiences and opinions of telehealth from adults age 50-80 years. The poll asked participants to share their opinions on telehealth compared to in-person office visits, such as the perceived levels of convenience and expressed concerns.

Only 14% of respondents reported that their providers offered telehealth visits through smartphones or computers and only 4% reported having a telehealth visit within the last year. However, interest in telehealth was relatively high. Among respondents, 47% believed that the overall convenience of a telehealth visit would be better than an in-person office visit while 36% believed the in-person visit would be more convenient and 18% believed there would be no difference. Additionally, among respondents whose providers do not offer telehealth visits, 48% expressed interest in having a telehealth visit with their primary care provider, 40% with a specialist, and 35% with a mental health professional.

Older adults showed some concerns with telehealth with 56% believing that they would feel better cared for from an in-person office visit. 71% indicated being concerned that health care providers would not be able to do a physical exam, 68% that care would not be as good, and 49% that there were concerns with privacy.

For more information, the full report is available from the University of Michigan Library.

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Evaluation of Tablet Distribution Program in Veterans Administration – Barriers and Facilitators

By | Center for Connected Health Policy

Source: Center for Connected Health Policy

In August, researchers from the Veterans Affairs Center for Innovation to Implementation and the Veterans Health Administration published an Open study in JAMIA Open Journal that examines an initiative to distribute tablets to high-need veterans with access barriers nationwide.  Researchers studied tablet distribution rates and patient-level utilization rates along with sociodemographic and clinical characteristics between May 2016 and September 2017.  Additionally, they surveyed 68 facility telehealth coordinators, and interviewed select coordinators in order to determine the most common barriers and facilitators of the tablet distribution program.
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Milbank Memorial Fund Releases Issue Brief on Policy Landscape of In-home Telehealth

By | Center for Connected Health Policy

Original Source: Center for Connected Health Policy

 

In August, the Milbank Memorial Fund released an issue brief on the telehealth policy landscape, emphasizing the growth of synchronous, live-video telehealth delivered in patients’ homes and other nonclinical settings. The issue brief outlines the current state of home-based telehealth, differentiating between direct-to-consumer telehealth, which is commonly used to address minor and acute conditions using a patient’s personal devices, and in-home telehealth visits from a patient’s primary care provider, which are typically conducted for more serious conditions and may require more extensive technological components.
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California’s New Medi-Cal Telehealth Reimbursement Policies Released with Major Changes

By | Center for Connected Health Policy

Original Source: Center for Connected Health Policy

In mid-August, the California Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) released its finalized telehealth policy update for the following:

  • Medi-Cal (California’s Medicaid Program) fee-for-service program
  • An All Plan Letter (APL) for Managed Care
  • Indian Health Services, Memorandum of Agreement (IHS-MOAs)
  • Family Plan, Access, Care and Treatment (Family PACT)
  • Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) and Rural Health Clinics (RHCs)
  • Local Education Agency (LEA)
  • Vision Care

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