The National Association for Medical Direction of Respiratory Care

CMS Proposes New Rule for Telemedicine

From Healthcare IT News…

In the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (PFS), 2018, CMS has proposed paying for a few new telehealth services. These services include psychotherapy for mental health crises, chronic care management programs, health risk assessments (eg, a patient self-report questionnaire), and visits to determine if a patient may be eligible for a low-dose CT scan for lung cancer detection.

The virtual visits must continue to follow CMS’ rules regarding the location of the service (where the patient is in a qualified site such as a physician’s office or federally qualified health center) and the qualifications of the providers (either physicians or qualified physician extenders). CMS has slightly loosened the rules about the rurality of patients participating in telehealth (they generally must be quite rural) but nothing dramatic.

Payment outlined in the PFS is to be the same for that level of service regardless of whether the service was provided by telemedicine or in a face-to-face visit.

At several points in the telemedicine section of the PFS, CMS asks for new ideas and proposals (with data) that CMS can consider for future modifications. CMS is accepting comments through September 11, 2017.

Bottom line: Telemedicine is increasingly on CMS’ radar screen. They are gradually expanding the types of encounters that covered by this modality.

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