The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services is continuing its slow-but-steady move toward Medicare coverage for remote patient monitoring with two changes in the proposed 2020 Physician Fee Schedule that may open the door to more mHealth reimbursement.
S.B. 753, introduced in February by State Sen. Peter MacGregor, passed unanimously in the House on December 1 and in the Senate on December 6. It will become law in 90 days, making Michigan the latest state to set guidelines for telehealth.
New York officials are easing telehealth regulations to enable mental health providers to treat some of their patients online. Some 250 providers in New York will now be able to use telepsychiatry in comprehensive psychiatric emergency programs, inpatient programs and partial hospitalization programs, according to a memo from the New York State Office of Mental Health (OMH).
In hospitals across the country, the image of the solitary doctor making midnight rounds is changing, thanks to telemedicine.
That doctor now sits in front of a tablet, laptop or desktop computer, perhaps at home or even in another country. And he or she can be connected to several hospitals via a telemedicine network, helping night shift nurses with whatever needs to be done during those long, not-always-quiet hours between dinner and breakfast.
Telehealth will only succeed if providers are reimbursed at the same rate as in-person care.
That’s the conclusion drawn from a health policy brief developed by Health Affairs and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. It argues that the nation’s move from volume-based to value-based healthcare will be accomplished only if providers can be assured of delivering high-value care at a lower cost – and that’s what telehealth promises.
The telehealth platform is the latest in a series of digital health initiatives for NYP, long considered one of the nation’s top mHealth-enabled systems. The six-campus health system which launched its own “innovation space” some two years ago, and now offers such services as a text-messaging platform for patients undergoing surgery (and their family and friends who want quick updates) and a mobile app – already in its third iteration – that helps users find any physician in the health system, get directions, access the health system’s Twitter feed for the latest news, get information about NYP services, and use the online payment system to pay bills.
Roughly a dozen home dialysis patients in Alabama now have their monthly checkups via telehealth, thanks to a partnership between the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine and the Alabama Department of Public Health.
Today’s healthcare ecosystem is filled with references to and examples of telemedicine and telehealth – in some cases, the two terms are used interchangeably. Whether they mean the same thing is a topic of considerable debate.
There are many states debating telemedicine reimbursement and access. New legislation is being pushed as the technology has cemented itself as a standard healthcare service that is helping improve quality of care and lower costs.
In rural communities across the country, it’s often more difficult to find a pharmacist than it is to find a doctor. Now healthcare providers are using telemedicine platforms to create telepharmacy networks and bring the pharmacist into the clinical conversation.