Imagine rushing to the Emergency Department, half-blind with mind-numbing pain, and desperate for help. Imagine expecting to be greeted by qualified, well-rested staff—nurses, doctors, therapists, and others—who are ready to take care of you, as much or as little as needed. Now, imagine arriving to find an overflowing ED filled with weary patients who have spent hours waiting for a hospital bed, attended to by overworked care providers who can barely muster a weak smile. They’re trying to reassure you, but all you can see is exhaustion, crowded hallways, and restless, disgruntled patients—a world without effective telemedicine applications.Read more
Recent surveys from the Kaiser Family Foundation have shown that roughly one in four American adults have not chosen a regular doctor that they see for general ailments. For adults under age 30, that ratio jumps to nearly half. For a health care system originally built on primary care-centered medicine—which has proven to reduce health care costs by one-third—this is unsettling news indeed. However, evolving technologies such as telemedicine services are re-shaping the health care landscape, forcing existing generalists to adapt to the new paradigm for survival. Read more
WASHINGTON – Saturday, Nov. 1, 2014 — Yesterday, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a rulemaking that includes significant additional coverage for telemedicine services.
“This Halloween, Medicare beneficiaries got an important treat for home care of chronic care management, remote patient monitoring of chronic conditions, and other services when provided via telehealth,” said Jonathan Linkous, CEO of the American Telemedicine Association. The association has been asking CMS for such coverage for over five years.
Buried in an almost 1200-page rulemaking about 2015 Medicare payments to physicians and practitioners were provisions paying for remote chronic care management using a new current procedural terminology (CPT) code, 99490, with a monthly unadjusted, non-facility fee of $42.60. Also, Medicare will pay for remote-patient monitoring of chronic conditions with a monthly unadjusted, non-facility fee of $56.92 using CPT code 99091. Prior to this, Medicare did not pay separately for such services, requiring that such billing be bundled with an “evaluation and management” code.
Also in the rulemaking were seven new covered procedure codes for telehealth including annual wellness visits, psychotherapy services, and prolonged services in the office.
“It has been a long time coming, but this rulemaking signals a clear and bold step in the right direction for Medicare,” added Linkous. “This allows providers to use telemedicine technology to improve the cost and quality of healthcare delivery.”
Read the full document here: http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=CMS-2014-0094-2363. To learn more about telemedicine and public policy, visit http://www.americantelemed.org/policy/overview-news.
About the American Telemedicine Association
The American Telemedicine Association is the leading international resource and advocate promoting the use of advanced remote medical technologies. ATA and its diverse membership work to fully integrate telemedicine into healthcare systems to improve quality, equity and affordability of healthcare throughout the world. Established in 1993, ATA is headquartered in Washington, DC. For more information visit www.americantelemed.org.
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