The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced 121 new participants in the Medicare Accountable Care Organization (ACO) will now have more flexibility in utilizing telehealth services with the New Generation Model.

Thursday, January 14, 2016- iHealthBeat

On Monday, CMS announced that 21 organizations initially will participate in its Next Generation Accountable Care Organization Model, which increases access to telehealth, FierceHealthcare reports (MacDonald, FierceHealthcare, 1/11).

Telehealth Provisions of New Model

The Next Generation ACO Model uses a combination of fee-for-service and capitation. It creates four payment systems and two risk tracks for its participants, including one with almost full risk (iHealthBeat, 3/12/15).

In addition, the model gives ACOs more flexibility to use telehealth services to treat patients in non-traditional health care settings.

According to CMS, the new model “tests beneficiary incentives for seeking care at Next Generation providers, including increased availability of telehealth and care coordination services” (Wicklund, mHealth Intelligence, 1/13).

ATA Supports Next Generation Model

In a statement, the American Telemedicine Association said it supports the Next Generation ACO Model and its telehealth implications.

ATA Chief Policy Officer Gary Capistrant said, “Today is an important day for Medicare beneficiaries getting access to value-based telehealth care.” He added, “We think all Medicare ACOs should be able to use telehealth to provide the Medicare range of coverage, and we hope that Congress and CMS will explore allowing more use of innovation to serve better Medicare beneficiaries” (Pallardy, Becker’s Health IT & CIO Review, 1/12).

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