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Congressional action is needed for telehealth not to return to a rural benefit, Seema Verma says

Final rule expands Medicare telehealth services and increases pay for office visits, but cuts emergency physician payment.

Susan Morse, Managing Editor

A final rule released by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services late today adds more than 60 services to the Medicare telehealth list that will continue to be covered beyond the end of the public health emergency.

But legislation is needed to make telehealth permanent beyond the pandemic in areas other than rural regions…

CMS Finalizes Proposed Cuts to Medicare Part B Therapy Services for 2021, Expands Telehealth Coverage

The federal government on Tuesday finalized its proposed physician fee schedule for the 2021 calendar year, formalizing cuts to Medicare reimbursement rates for therapy services provided to residents covered under Part B — while also expanding some telehealth flexibilities offered during COVID-19.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) in August floated a 9% cut to Part B physical and occupational therapy rates; the finalized Physician Fee Schedule (PFS) announced Tuesday appears to keep those same cuts intact, National Association for the Support of Long-Term Care executive vice president Cynthia Morton told…

Understanding the Difference in Telemedicine, Telehealth, and Telecare

Have you been wondering what telemedicine, telehealth, and telecare mean? Find out now.

With the recent practice of social distancing and quarantining due to COVID-19, more medical health practices than ever before have turned to telemedicine, telehealth, and telecare to treat patients and deliver medical advice. Between telecommunication apps and video conferencing tools, patients are able to get medical help without leaving their home.

From virtual visits and online health records to payment management, digital forms, and reminders, doctors and administrators can use telemedicine, telehealth, and telecare to…

CMS’s Stark Law Changes Could Mean More Value-Based Business for Home Health Operators

In an effort to boost value-based care, the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) recently announced that it has finalized changes to the Physician Self-Referral Law — often referred to as the Stark Law.

For home health providers, the changes could mean more opportunities for value-based care arrangements moving forward, experts believe.

Broadly, the Stark Law was originally intended to prevent physicians from self-dealing and making compromised medical decisions based on financial incentives.

Under previous rules and regulations, physicians were prohibited from making referrals…

CMS Launches ‘Unprecedented’ Hospital-at-Home Strategy to Manage Latest COVID-19 Surge

In an effort to increase hospital capacity amid the current COVID-19 surge, the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) on Wednesday announced “unprecedented” flexibilities around providing hospital-level care for patients in their homes.

Similar to CMS’s recent allowances surrounding telehealth, the agency’s latest efforts are focused on lifting barriers that could potentially hinder care during the public health emergency, CMS Administrator Seema Verma said in a statement.

Wednesday’s flexibilities aren’t coming out of thin air. Instead, they build off the success and learnings of the nation’s existing…

Remote Patient Monitoring Program for Hospital Discharged COVID-19 Patients

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVE: We deployed a Remote Patient Monitoring (RPM) program to monitor patients with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) upon hospital discharge. We describe the patient characteristics, program characteristics, and clinical outcomes of patients in our RPM program.

METHODS: We enrolled COVID-19 patients being discharged home from the hospital. Enrolled patients had an app, and were provided with a pulse oximeter and thermometer. Patients self-reported symptoms, O2 saturation, and temperature daily. Abnormal symptoms or vital signs were flagged and assessed by a pool of nurses. Descriptive statistics were used to describe…

As COVID-19 cases swell, US extends telehealth to acute care

The US government has introduced a scheme to allow hospitals to reduce the number of inpatients they see through a telehealth platform that would helps deliver acute care at home.

The move comes as the number of new cases of COVID-19 have been climbing to around 180,000 a day, with deaths since the start of the pandemic now rising above 260,000, and concerns that some hospitals could become overwhelmed over the winter months.

The Centres for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced the plans as part of  broad plan…

Telehealth: The Future of Health Care

CHICAGO, IL — Nov. 24, 2020 — In the midst of a global pandemic, millions of people have experienced telehealth with a virtual exam for the first time this year. Health care delivery is big business, and telemedicine offers more than a safe and convenient experience for patients. Liberty Advisor Group reviews how at its core, telehealth is a rewarding resource utilization play.

In April of 2020, Forrester estimated that over 1 billion telehealth virtual “visits” would be completed by the end of the year, with 900 million or more directly tied…

5 More Takeaways About the Telehealth Boom

The second of a two-part story on 10 takeaways about the telehealth boom. The COVID-19 pandemic has been a bumpy ride in the U.S., featuring one controversy after another. One of the few areas of agreement is that the widespread adoption of telehealth amid the pandemic has been, by and large, a positive development.

The COVID-19 pandemic has been a bumpy ride in the United States, featuring one controversy after another. One of the few areas of agreement is that the widespread adoption of telehealth amid the pandemic has been, by and…

CMS launches Acute Hospital Care at Home program to help with COVID-19 surge

Building off its Hospital Without Walls initiative, it’s offering new flexibilities around telehealth and remote patient monitoring as the country enters “a new level of crisis response,” said CMS Administrator Seema Verma.

By Mike MiliardNovember 25, 202004:50 PM

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services on Wednesday took several new steps to help U.S. hospitals manage the crush of new patients as the COVID-19 crisis worsens. Among them are new allowances for telehealth and remote monitoring, for what…

CMS Unveils New Telehealth Program to Treat Acute Care Patients at Home

The Acute Hospital Care at Home program would allow participating hospitals to qualify for Medicare waivers to treat patients at home via telehealth, reducing the strain on EDs and in-patient services.

By Eric Wicklund

November 25, 2020 – Six health systems across the country are expanding their telehealth platform to treat patients at home under a new program launched by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

The Acute Hospital Care at Home program will give participating hospitals the ability to reduce inpatient volume by treating certain…

CY 2021 Home Health PPS Final Rule Adds New Payment Rates, Wage Indices and the Home Infusion Services Benefit

The Calendar Year (CY) 2021 final rule updating the Home Health Prospective Payment System (HH PPS) includes increases in the national, standardized 30-day period payment and per-visit payment for home health agencies (HHAs) and makes notable changes to labor market delineations that impact the geographic wage index, but maintains many of the other policies and procedures previously followed by HHAs under the CY 2020 final rule. The rule also further explains the home infusion therapy benefit category policies codified in the CY…

The Calendar Year (CY) 2021 final rule updating the Home Health Prospective Payment System (HH PPS) includes increases in the national, standardized 30-day period payment and per-visit payment for home health agencies (HHAs) and makes notable changes to labor market delineations that impact the geographic wage index, but maintains many of the other policies and procedures previously followed by HHAs under the CY 2020 final rule. The rule also further explains the home infusion therapy benefit category policies codified in the CY…

ATA applauds reforms to Stark Law, Anti-Kickback Statute

The American Telemedicine Association said the newly released final rules move the healthcare industry closer to a value-based care model.

By Kat JercichNovember 25, 202009:58 AM

The American Telemedicine Association this week issued a statement in response to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ final rules regarding the Physician Self-Referral Law (also known as the Stark Law) and the Federal Anti-Kickback Statute.

According to HHS, the rules will allow healthcare providers to participate…

Slow Hospital Visit Recovery Suggests Telehealth Here to Stay

Hospital visit recovery across key metrics is still down compared to pre-pandemic levels, and new consumer research suggests volumes could stay low as patients prefer telehealth services.

 By Jacqueline LaPointe

November 25, 2020 – Hospital visit recovery may be hitting another bump in the road as new consumer research indicates that patients prefer telehealth services and other alternative care options.

The new data from TransUnion Healthcare recently showed that, generally, hospital visit volumes have stayed consistent through late October after plateauing in July. As of the last week…

How healthcare organizations can enhance RPM security, resiliency

Remote patient monitoring ecosystems should not be treated in the same way as traditional endpoints, say cybersecurity experts.

By Kat Jercich November 24, 202001:00 PM

As the COVID-19 pandemic has continued to push patients away from in-person care, many health systems have ramped up their remote patient monitoring ecosystems. 

But with that increase in endpoints comes an increase in security risks.

“From a security perspective, we always model a personal home…

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