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8 must-know lessons from telehealth’s new normal

From managing cybersecurity imperatives with at-home patients as a new X factor, to surfing the data tsunami of remote patient monitoring, experts from NIST, FCC, Mount Sinai, Yale, Leapfrog and others offer insights on demand.

By Mike Miliard September 28, 2020 11:53 AM

Telehealth has been around for a long time, but only recently has it gained the critical mass that most have long expected. “It’s the overnight success story that was 30 years in the making,” said Atrium…

Telehealth during COVID-19 pandemic: will the future last?

Cardiac rehabilitation (CR) constitutes a major pillar of secondary prevention measures in cardiac patients, in particular for those with coronary artery disease and heart failure, but also for patients with other cardiovascular diseases (CVDs), such as valvular heart disease, heart transplantation, congenital heart disease, or patients with an extensive cardiovascular risk profile.1 Hospital- or centre-based, multidisciplinary CR programs are the gold standard for delivery of optimal post-interventional care and implementation of secondary prevention goals in cardiac patients. The current COVID-19 pandemic however has all of a sudden prevented almost all patients in need of CR services in…

ATA weighs in on proposed CMS Physician Fee Schedule rule

The American Telemedicine Association’s comments focused on expanding telehealth access, changes to remote monitoring services, and the provision of telehealth in federally qualified health centers and rural health clinics.

By Kat Jercich September 25, 2020 02:02 PM

The American Telemedicine Association was among several groups this week that submitted comments to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services regarding the 2021 Physician Fee Schedule proposed rule.

The comments focused…

Payer Strategies For Home Healthcare, Remote Patient Monitoring

By implementing certain home healthcare and remote patient monitoring strategies, payers can boost their value-based care delivery.

By Kelsey Waddill

September 25, 2020 – Home healthcare and remote monitoring are increasingly critical to providing value-based care, improving quality while keeping costs low.

Experts have discovered that, in some cases, remote patient monitoring can provide superior quality of data when compared to wearables. In one study, a remote patient monitoring tool allowed providers to more accurately predict 30-day hospital readmissions.

Additionally, receiving certain forms of care at home instead…

CMS touts lower premiums and benefits of Medicare Advantage plans

Over 94% of Medicare Advantage plans will offer additional telehealth benefits, up from about 58% of plans offering telehealth benefits in 2020. 

Susan Morse, Managing Editor

More Medicare Advantage plans in 2021 will offer telehealth benefits.

Average 2021 premiums for Medicare Advantage plans are expected to decline 34.2% from 2017 while plan choice, benefits, and enrollment continue to increase, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said ahead of the annual Medicare Open Enrollment starting on October 15.

This will make the Medicare Advantage average…

How the Healthcare Industry, Worker Roles will Evolve as a Result of COVID-19

September 26, 2020John Danaher

The coronavirus pandemic has shed light on major imbalances within the healthcare system, specifically, the supply and demand of allied health professionals, and the urgent need to invest in community-based care that prioritizes vulnerable populations.

The coronavirus pandemic has shed light on major imbalances within the healthcare system, specifically, the supply and demand of allied health professionals, and the urgent need to invest in community-based care that prioritizes vulnerable populations.

As we think ahead to a post-COVID-19 world, now is a crucial time…

53 Medicare Advantage Plans to Offer Hospice in 2021, Palliative Care to Grow

Among Medicare Advantage plans, 53 will be covering hospice and palliative care in 2021 through the value-based insurance design (VBID) model, according to the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). Medicare Advantage is seeing record-high levels of participation for 2021 among beneficiaries, reaching about 42% for 2021, CMS reported.

Starting in 2021, payers and hospice providers will have the option to participate in a demonstration project testing the inclusion of hospice in VBID. The demonstration is often referred to as the Medicare Advantage hospice carve-in.

The carve-in will begin…

American Telemedicine Association Responds to Medicare Telehealth 2021 Proposed Rule

The American Telemedicine Association (ATA) issued a policy comment letter to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), advocating for telehealth-friendly changes to Medicare’s telehealth coverage and reimbursement rules. The ATA’s letter also made recommendations on CMS’ proposed interpretations on remote patient monitoring (RPM) requirements. The letter was submitted in response to CMS’ 2021 Physician Fee Schedule proposed rule.

The ATA letter notes: “The ATA appreciates CMS’s efforts to expand access to telehealth. With Congressional authority, CMS has led the way in expanding access to remote care during the COVID-19 public health emergency. With this proposed…

17 patient care organizations ink principles for telehealth regulations

Jackie Drees – Friday, September 25th, 2020

The American Heart Association and American Cancer Society and 15 other patient organizations on Sept. 24 released a set of principles for legislators to consider for telehealth implementations.

The principles are meant to guide regulations for telehealth during and after the COVID-19 public health emergency. Here are the group’s six recommendations:  

1. Cover telehealth services under all health plans, including Medicare, Medicaid and other federal and state regulated commercial health plans.

2. Improve access to telehealth technologies for…

New Bill Would Add Telehealth to Medicare Diabetes Prevention Program

A bill filed this week would expand the Medicare Diabetes Prevention Program to include telehealth services, thus improving access to care for millions of people at risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

By Eric Wicklund

September 25, 2020 – A group of Senators has introduced a bill that would expand access to the Medicare Diabetes Prevention Program through telehealth.

S 4709 was introduced this week by Senators Tim Scott (R-SC), Mark warner (D-VA), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), Tom Cotton (R-AR) and Tina Smith (D-MN). Titled the Prevent Diabetes…

Verma’s Comments Signal Turning Point for In-Home Care

By Robert Holly | September 24, 2020

The U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) on Wednesday released $165 million in supplemental funding for Money Follows the Person (MFP) programs, which encourage transitions from long-term care facilities to home- and community-based settings. 

In the grand scheme of government health care spending, $165 million is only a drop in the bucket. In fact, the new funding will only divert $5 million to each eligible state’s Medicaid program for MFP — helpful, but hardly game-changing.

The arguably most exciting part of Wednesday’s…

American Telemedicine Association Responds to Medicare Telehealth 2021 Proposed Rule

The American Telemedicine Association (ATA) issued a policy comment letter to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), advocating for telehealth-friendly changes to Medicare’s telehealth coverage and reimbursement rules. The ATA’s letter also made recommendations on CMS’ proposed interpretations on remote patient monitoring (RPM) requirements. The letter was submitted in response to CMS’ 2021 Physician Fee Schedule proposed rule. 

The ATA letter notes: “The ATA appreciates CMS’s efforts to expand access to telehealth. With Congressional authority, CMS has led the way in expanding access to remote care during the COVID-19 public health emergency. With this proposed…

CMS Announces $165M to Support Home Care, Reduce ‘America’s Over-Reliance’ on Nursing Homes

The U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) took a new step on Wednesday to support care transitions from long-term care facilities into home- and community-based settings.

On Wednesday, CMS announced the availability of up to $165 million in supplemental funding to states currently operating Money Follows the Person (MFP) demonstration programs. MFP programs allow certain Medicaid users, including older adults, to more seamlessly transition from a nursing home or institution back into the home, only if they desire to do so.

“The tragic devastation wrought by the Coronavirus on…

Viewpoint: 5 issues telehealth must address before permanent expansion

By Jackie Drees 

If telehealth is going to provide value to the healthcare system, it must address issues such as health equity and disparities in healthcare while delivering safe and high-quality care, according to Shantanu Agrawal, MD, and Tejal Gandhi, MD.

For a Sept. 23 viewpoint article published in Health Affairs, Dr. Agrawal, president and CEO of the National Quality Forum, and Dr. Gandhi, chief clinical safety officer at the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, shared five challenges telehealth must tackle if it is to be permanently expanded in…

CMS to Expand Successful Ambulance Program Integrity Payment Model Nationwide Model shown to save Medicare money while ensuring appropriate access

Today, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced that it will expand the Medicare Prior Authorization Model for Repetitive, Scheduled Non-Emergent Ambulance Transport (RSNAT) nationwide. The model has saved Medicare about $650 million over four years while preserving quality of care and access to essential services.

As part of CMS’s comprehensive approach to protect taxpayer dollars and target the most significant program integrity risks facing our health care programs, CMS is working to prevent, rather than chase, fraud, waste, and abuse through smart, proactive measures. Ambulance services have long been associated with…

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