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FCC Launches Connected Care Pilot Program, Announces 36 Award Recipients

The Federal Communications Commission has posted new guidelines for its Connected Care Pilot Program and announced 36 telehealth projects that have qualified for funding.

By Eric Wicklund

June 18, 2021 – Some 36 telehealth programs across the country will get federal funding through the Federal Communications Commission’s Connected Care Pilot Program.

The FCC approved new guidelines for the $100 million program during its Thursday meeting, then announced the second road of approved applications. The 36 new projects will account for $31 million in funding, and join 23 projects…

AMA calls for action to help telehealth flourish post-pandemic

The use of telehealth has exploded during the COVID-19 pandemic, but critical issues related to health inequity, state medical licensure requirements, regulation and payment must be addressed for this mode of care to continue to flourish beyond the public health emergency. The AMA House of Delegates (HOD) took several actions with the aim of doing just that.

“It is essential for physicians to serve as leading partners in efforts to improve access to telehealth services in historically marginalized and minoritized communities,” said David H. Aizuss, MD, a member of the AMA Board of Trustees. “More of our patients used…

Telehealth Is Here to Stay

After a year of change, how will homecare adapt online?

by Hannah Wolfson Tuesday, June 1st, 2021

In the earliest days of the emerging COVID-19 pandemic—in a news story published on March 16, 2020, to be exact—we reported that homecare companies were facing a new problem: denials of service. Patients and customers were increasingly refusing to let providers into their homes out of fear of infection, and professionals were declining to go out into the field for the same reason.

“Patients are increasingly hesitant to…

Will telehealth be the new frontline of healthcare?

Lori Prestesater shares three key factors that should be taken into consideration if healthcare providers are to continue along their trajectory towards being truly digitally driven

Digitally delivered healthcare saw significant changes during the pandemic – but are these innovations here to stay? Telehealth can be more efficient, give patients more control over their care and, importantly, many patients now prefer virtual to in-person appointments.

Healthcare systems globally have an opportunity to be beneficiaries of this burgeoning technology. As shown in the recent COVID-19 Telehealth Impact Study by…

Physicians in favor of permanent telehealth expansion

At the same time, a new report finds, stakeholders should not ignore the limitations of current virtual care models.

By Kat Jercich May 27, 2021 10:43 AM

A study published this month in JMIR Human Factors from Syracuse University researchers found that physicians are in favor of expanding telehealth permanently.  

However, many docs also voiced concerns with limitations of current telehealth technology offerings, noting that market concentration could lead to weighted effects of select platforms’ capabilities.   

“As consumers, we want…

Remote monitoring device acceptance has increased compared to pre-pandemic levels

Many patients remain skeptical of remote patient monitoring devices, which have seen a heavy uptake due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Covid-19 pandemic forced a shift away from the majority of in-person physician visits in order to minimise the risk of spreading Covid-19. A recent GlobalData poll found that this experience may have accelerated the adoption of remote patient monitoring devices. Despite this, a significant minority of respondents continue to have privacy concerns. As the…

CMS Releases 2022 Proposed Physician Fee Schedule and Quality Payment Program Rule

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The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released the 2022 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (PFS) and Quality Payment Program (QPP) proposed rule on July 13. This rule includes updates to payment rates for physicians and other health care professionals, expands the use of telehealth, clarifies evaluation and management (E/M) policies, proposes policies for the 2022 performance year of the quality payment program, and includes many other provisions.

The AAMC will provide comments on the proposed rule, which are due to CMS by Sept. 13.

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CMS proposes to expand the Home Health Value-Based Purchasing Model nationwide

Public and private providers are keen on expanding their home health programs after seeing how well it worked during the pandemic.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has issued a proposed home health rule aimed at accelerating the shift to value by expanding the Home Health Value-Based Purchasing Model nationwide.
 
The CY2022 Home Health Prospective Payment System proposed rule provides payment updates that would increase Medicare payments to home health agencies by an aggregate of 1.7%, or $310 million.

This increase reflects…

Alaska senators introduce Rural and Frontier Telehealth Expansion Act

Alaska Senators Dan Sullivan and Lisa Murkowski last week introduced the Rural and Frontier Telehealth Expansion Act. The legislation aims to permanently expand access to telehealth beyond the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The Alaska senators were joined by Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.), Jon Tester (D-Mont.), Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), and Ben Ray Lujan (D-N.M.) in introducing the bipartisan legislation. 

The Rural and Frontier Telehealth Expansion Act would increase Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP) funding by five percentage points. This funding would be made available if a state covers telehealth services under Medicaid and is…

How to keep getting paid for telehealth in 2021

3 best practices you must implement to stay compliant and collect maximum reimbursement.

The flourishing of telehealth in 2020 was driven not just by necessity, but also by a significant loosening of governmental regulations and of reimbursement requirements by payers. Waivers were granted during the public health emergency that allowed the use of traditionally noncompliant communications platforms, such as FaceTime and other consumer-level technologies. Practices have been able to grab most any technology and expect to get paid for the appointment.

Today, both states and payers are already changing…

Proposed Physician Fee Schedule Includes Expanded Telehealth Reimbursement

The proposed 2022 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule, released on July 13 by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), includes expanded reimbursement for behavioral health services delivered by telehealth, including reimbursing providers for audio-only telephone calls. The proposed expansion would allow Medicare beneficiaries with mental health or substance abuse disorders to receive diagnosis, evaluation and treatment in their homes, assuming certain conditions are met.

The proposed rule also addresses the continuation of the temporary expansion of telehealth services during the COVID-19 public health emergency, which is currently expected to last…

What we’ve learned about using telehealth to reach older adults during COVID-19

As COVID-19 case counts rose and sheltering in place became a public health mandate, telehealth use skyrocketed nationwide as previous regulatory restrictions were lifted and providers and patients found safe ways to access care. But despite the rapid uptake in telehealth nationally, prevailing inequities in internet and technology access still leave out too many populations from getting the quality virtual care they want and need.

Telehealth use relies on a patient’s access to technology, knowledge of how to use it and a reliable internet connection. But unfortunately, 22 million older adults (aged…

CMS proposes extension of Medicare telehealth coverage

Provider groups are not happy with the payment adjustment included — a 3.75% reduction to the conversion factor due to budget neutrality requirements — and will likely seek congressional intervention.

CMS is proposing to extend Medicare coverage of certain telehealth services granted for the COVID-19 public health emergency to the end of 2023 to help gather data that can determine whether the services should be permanently covered.

The agency similarly suggested allowing for some mental healthcare to be provided on an audio-only basis going forward in the proposed Physician Fee…

CMS Expands Telehealth Coverage in Proposed 2022 Physician Fee Schedule

The proposal includes expanding Medicare coverage for telehealth services that address mental health and substance abuse issues and extending most COVID-19 freedoms until the end of 2023, as well as some coverage for FQHCs and RHCs.

By Eric Wicklund

July 14, 2021 – The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ proposed 2022 Physician Fee Schedule offers some good news for telehealth advocates.

The 1747-page draft, released this week, proposes to make permanent some provisions enacted years to address the coronavirus pandemic, while continuing most until at least Dec….

How to keep getting paid for telehealth in 2021

3 best practices you must implement to stay compliant and collect maximum reimbursement.

The flourishing of telehealth in 2020 was driven not just by necessity, but also by a significant loosening of governmental regulations and of reimbursement requirements by payers. Waivers were granted during the public health emergency that allowed the use of traditionally noncompliant communications platforms, such as FaceTime and other consumer-level technologies. Practices have been able to grab most any technology and expect to get paid for the appointment.

Today, both states and payers are already changing…

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