Medicare and telehealth

MedPAC Meets

Members of the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission met publicly last week in Washington, D.C.  Their agenda consisted of the following issues: telehealth in Medicare alternative approaches to lowering Medicare payments for selected conditions in inpatient rehabilitation facilities considering approaches for updating the Medicare physician fee schedule assessing consistency between plan-submitted data sources for Medicare Advantage enrollees generic drug pricing under Part D initial findings from analysis of Medicare Part B payment rates and 340B ceiling prices Go here for a brief overview of each agenda item and links to the staff presentations on those issues. MedPAC is an independent congressional [...]

Telehealth Serving Some Medicare Patients Well

Medicare patients with serious mental health problems were well-served through telehealth during the COVID-19 crisis. According to a new study published by the JAMA Network, such patients experienced … 13.0% more mental health visits than those receiving care at practices that largely used in-person visits.  There were no changes in medication adherence, hospital and emergency department use, or mortality based on the extent of telemental health use. The study’s findings support continued use of telehealth for Medicare patients with mental health problems even now that the greatest threat of the pandemic has passed. Learn more about how the study was [...]

2023-11-01T13:00:57+00:00November 1, 2023|Medicare, Telehealth|

DEA Okays Continued Remote Prescribing of Controlled Substances

The federal Drug Enforcement Administration has extended the authority of qualified health care providers to prescribe controlled substances via telehealth through the end of 2024. This authorization originated as a temporary measure in response to the COVID-19 public health emergency and this is its second extension since the end of the formal public health emergency. The DEA says it intends to promulgate new remote prescribing standards by the fall of 2024. Without the extension, the authority would have expired on November 11. Learn more about this DEA decision, why it was made, and what to expect next from this Federal [...]

2023-10-11T06:00:23+00:00October 11, 2023|COVID-19, Telehealth|

Federal Health Policy Update for July 20

The following is the latest health policy news from the federal government for March 13-16.  Some of the language used below is taken directly from government documents. Congress Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT), chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, has introduced a bill, the “Primary Care and Health Workforce Expansion Act.”  The bill would: Increase funding for community health centers by $65 billion over five years, fund the National Health Service Corps at $8.3 billion over five years, and provide $250 million for HRSA coordination for the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program. Add 10,000 graduate [...]

Federal Health Policy Update for February 23

The following is the latest health policy news from the federal government for February 17-23.  Some of the language used below is taken directly from government documents. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services CMS has issued an informational bulletin to states reiterating certain federal requirements that pertain to health care-related taxes.  Recently, CMS became aware that some health care-related tax programs appear to involve agreements among providers to redistribute their Medicaid payments to hold taxpayers harmless for the cost of the tax.  The bulletin reminds states that such arrangements are prohibited.  Find the CMS bulletin here. CMS has posted a [...]

Federal Health Policy Update for December 22

The following is the latest health policy news from the federal government for the week of December 19-22.  Some of the language used below is taken directly from government documents. Congress As of this writing, Congress continues to work on an FY 2023 omnibus spending bill:  the Senate has passed it but the House has not yet addressed it.  Highlights of what negotiators have agreed to – but that have not yet been adopted – include: Preventing the additional four percent Medicare sequester for two years. Reducing by more than half the 4.5 percent cut in Medicare payments to physicians [...]

FEDERAL HEALTH POLICY UPDATE FOR THE WEEK OF SEPTEMBER 12-16

The following is the latest health policy news from the federal government for the week of September 12-16.  Some of the language used below is taken directly from government documents. No Surprises Act The Department of Health and Human Services, the federal Office of Personnel Management, the Internal Revenue Service, the Department of the Treasury, the Department of Labor, and the Employee Benefits Security Administration have issued a request for information (RFI) seeking stakeholder comment on how to implement the No Surprises Act’s requirement that health care providers and payers give explanations of benefits and good-faith estimates of costs for [...]

MedPAC Discusses Post-COVID Telehealth

Should Medicare continue to encourage the use of telehealth when the COVID-19 pandemic ends? Should it continue to pay for telehealth when the there is no “tele” in the service and it is audio only? And should Medicare pay different rates for visits in person, telehealth visits, and audio-only (that is, telephone) visits? These were among the questions addressed by members of the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission during their public meetings last week. Members also discussed the need for further analysis of the effectiveness of telehealth and audio-only visits, how to identify audio-only visits on Medicare claims, how to collect [...]

2021-11-17T06:00:10+00:00November 17, 2021|Medicare, Medicare reimbursement policy, MedPAC, Telehealth|

Is Telehealth Too Expensive To Keep?

That’s the question Congress is asking these days. While health care interests and consumers are almost unanimous in their enthusiasm for telehealth, Congress is questioning whether telehealth is too expensive to preserve after the threat of COVID-19 passes. Prior to the pandemic, Medicare mostly limited the use of telehealth to rural areas where access to providers is limited.  Once the public health emergency became serious Medicare waived many of its limits on the use of telehealth so that elderly patients could stay in touch with their doctors.  On the whole, patients have viewed telehealth favorably and providers are very enthusiastic [...]

2021-05-25T06:00:16+00:00May 25, 2021|Medicare reimbursement policy, Telehealth|
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