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…

Federal Plan Proposes Improving Rural Health Care Through Telehealth

new plan released by the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) earlier this month calls for improving rural health care services, especially by facilitating the expansion of telehealth in rural communities.

Even before the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, health care in rural areas has struggled with a number of longstanding challenges, including clinician shortages and closing of rural hospitals—130 closures since 2010, with 13 closures through July this year, according to the American Hospital Association. Residents of rural areas are more likely to report less access to health care and lower quality…

How Independent Practices Can Come Out of COVID-19 Stronger

The economic fallout of COVID-19 may accelerate acquisitions of independent practices unless practice leaders consider new, but not necessarily novel, ways of doing business.

By Jacqueline LaPointe

September 21, 2020 – COVID-19 seems like the final nail in the coffin for independent practices. Devastating financial losses from the start of the pandemic, stagnating patient volumes, and a new appetite for virtual care is making it more difficult for independent practices, to put it frankly, remain independent.

“The jury is out, but COVID is probably going to exacerbate larger systems buying…

NYC Hospitals Create Blueprint for COVID-19 Triage By Telehealth

The report, recently published in Medicina, was prepared by clinicians at NYU Langone Health and the NYU Long Island School of Medicine, both of which used telehealth to treat hundreds of thousands of patients this summer.

By Eric Wicklund

September 21, 2020 – Two New York health systems have published a blueprint for using telehealth to diagnose and treat patients infected with the coronavirus.

The report, “A Telemedicine Approach to COVID-19 Assessment and Triage,” was published earlier this month in the scientific and medical journal Medicina by researchers and clinicians from NYU…

New Bill Looks to Mandate Payer Coverage for Telehealth Services

A bill introduced last week on Capitol Hill would prompt payers to cover any telehealth services if those services are also furnished in person.

By Eric Wicklund

September 21, 2020 – The latest bill introduced on Capitol Hill aims to level the playing field for payers by ensuring that all telehealth services be covered if those services are also furnished in person.

HR 8308, unveiled last week by US Rep. Dean Phillips (D-MN), wades into a hotly contested arena in connected health legislation: Who gets to decide how healthcare…

Senior Living Tech Spending Skyrockets Amid Covid-19, With Questions About Future

Senior living providers are spending much more on technology during Covid-19, even if many of them are also not sure what they’ll do with it in the future.

Those are among the findings of a new survey conducted by Senior Housing News in partnership with global health technology firm Philips. The survey — conducted online from July 30 to Aug. 17 — contains responses from more than 250 members of the Senior Housing News audience.

According to the survey, 80% of respondents reported an increase in tech spending this year to help…

Planning and clinical role of acute medical home care services for COVID‐19 – consensus position statement by the Hospital‐in‐the‐Home Society Australasia


During a pandemic when hospitals are stretched and patients need isolation, the role of hospital‐in‐the‐home (HITH) providing acute medical care at home has never been more relevant. We aimed to define and address the challenges to acute home care services posed by the COVID‐19 pandemic. Planning for service operation involves staffing, equipment availability and cleaning, upskilling in telehealth and communication. Planning for clinical care involves maximising cohorts of patients without COVID‐19 and new clinical pathways for patients with COVID‐19. The risk of SARS‐CoV‐2 transmission, specific COVID‐19 clinical pathways and the well‐being of…

Health Care on the Other Side: Physician Compensation Models in a Post-COVID-19 Landscape

The COVID-19 pandemic has raised concern among health care leaders about the preparedness of acute care systems to adapt to and manage large-scale environmental disruptions. Current physician compensation models do not align incentives with the dynamic and unique strategic priorities of health systems, especially in the face of unforeseen circumstances.

Advancements in the health care landscape have accelerated in the last decade, and hospitals have been slow to respond. Value-Based Care has become the new normal, but organizations are still reconciling how to compensate physicians for their delivery of quality care that leads to…

ACR Survey Reveals Patients Struggle to Maintain Access to Care During COVID-19 Pandemic

September 18, 2020 Skylar Jeremias

A survey from the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) revealed that patients with rheumatic diseases are struggling to get access to health care treatment.

national survey of individuals with rheumatic diseases found that many face difficulties in obtaining access to care, with many forgoing physician care completely.

The survey was conducted in June by Rheumatic Disease Awareness Month 2020 and the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) and its Simple Tasks public awareness campaign. It builds on the ACR’s…

New CMS Payment Model for Kidney Care Could Boost Telehealth Use

The ESRD Treatment Choices (ETS) Model incentivizes providers who support home-based dialysis and care – and could open the door to more telehealth and remote patient monitoring programs.

By Eric Wicklund

September 18, 2020 – Federal officials have unveiled a new treatment model for patients living with kidney disease that could boost interest in telehealth and remote patient monitoring programs.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) Treatment Choices (ETC) Model aims to shift from the traditional Medicare fee-for-service format to one that incentivizes providers to…

Telehealth Adoption Is a Challenge Worth Meeting

AACE leaders on embracing technology in medicine

by Howard M. Lando, MD, and Susan L. Samson, MD, PhD 

September 18, 2020

Telehealth has been available as a tool for health care practitioners for years but, until recently, it was primarily used to treat patients in rural areas and with various restrictions, including where the service could take place and licensure limitations. The practice of telemedicine has shifted dramatically in six short months. Although expansion of telehealth services has raised new challenges, telemedicine has been critical to provision of health…

Senate bill would nix geographic, site restrictions on telehealth

What’s the news: The AMA is supporting S. 4375, the “Telehealth Modernization Act of 2020,” which would permanently remove many of the regulatory restrictions on telehealth that were temporarily lifted at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic and have enabled patients to receive care without leaving their homes.

“During the pandemic, telemedicine has allowed physicians to provide care to patients while supporting physical distancing efforts and reducing the spread of SARS-CoV-2 and other infectious diseases by avoiding unnecessary outpatient visits,” AMA Executive Vice President and CEO James L. Madara, MD, wrote in 

CMS Announces Innovative Models for the Care of Chronic Kidney Disease and Cancer Patients

Today, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) finalized the End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) Treatment Choices (ETC) Model, to improve or maintain the quality of care and reduce Medicare expenditures for patients with chronic kidney disease. The ETC Model delivers on President Trump’s Advancing Kidney Health Executive Order and encourages an increased use of home dialysis and kidney transplants to help improve the quality of life of Medicare beneficiaries with ESRD. The ETC Model will impact approximately 30 percent of kidney care providers and will be implemented on January 1, 2021 at an estimated savings of $23 million…

Consortium Pushes Telehealth Freedoms for Substance Abuse Treatment

A new Health Affairs blog urges the federal government to continue telehealth waivers for substance abuse treatment during the COVID-19 emergency and asks for permanent changes to safeguards around the use of buprenorphine.

By Eric Wicklund

September 18, 2020 – A group of clinicians and public health experts is pressing the federal government to make permanent telehealth policy changes that would improve access to care for people undergoing substance abuse treatment.

In a recent blog in Health Affairs, the Buprenorphine Telehealth Consortium is urging the Health and Human Services Secretary…

Was COVID-19 Healthcare’s Use Case for the Patient Portal?

The patient portal hadn’t exactly yielded strong patient use. That was, until COVID-19 came. The pandemic has served as a key use case for the patient portal in care management.

September 18, 2020 – When it comes to patient engagement technology, the patient portal is somewhat like an umbrella. You might not use it very often, but when it rains — or when COVID-19 comes to the United States — you’re sure glad you have it.

“It’s like you’re out on a walk and it starts to drizzle, and you realize, ‘oh wait,…