Now that Texas state officials have finally opened the doors for telemedicine expansion, they certainly aren’t wasting any time: The Texas Division of Workers’ Compensation (DWC) has proposed an informal rule that would eliminate Medicare-based restrictions on originating sites and reimbursement for workers’ comp cases. The goals are to offer telemedicine to all residents in workers’ comp regardless of where they live and to help providers to be reimbursed more easily. Currently, telemedicine reimbursement for workers’ comp cases is limited to patients located in certain medical clinics within underserved areas.
In a press release, Texas DWC Commissioner Ryan Brannan explained that the rule is designed to allow for the future growth of the telemedicine industry. With the adoption of the proposed rule, the agency hopes to be proactive in making the workers’ comp system more efficient and beneficial to employers and injured employees without losing quality of care.
The potentially large impact of telemedicine on the workers’ comp industry has been widely noted by organizations including the National Workers Compensation Conference & Expo, the independent healthcare accrediting organization URAC, and vendors such as American Well. URAC sees telemedicine as a way for injured employees to receive personal, convenient, and effective care as an alternative to on-site medical care while increasing the accuracy of claim compensability determinations and reducing the utilization of unnecessary services.
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