New CMS rule includes telehealthWe just got a note from the American Telemedicine Association (ATA) indicating that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has issued a new rule for Medicaid. While Medicaid is largely funded and operated by state government, CMS sets the basic rules. And this one is a great one!
CMS has ordered all states to set in place a means to monitor access to care for Medicaid beneficiaries. Factors that have to be considered are distance to services for patients, the kinds of care beneficiaries need and the availability of telehealth services. That’s right, CMS seems to be aware that telehealth can make significant contributions to access to care issues for its beneficiaries.
One NRTRC state’s Medicaid office is very deeply committed to telehealth, requiring it if possible, for any patient needing care. One state has just significantly expanded availability of care for its beneficiaries through telehealth. Yet another NRTRC state is looking at a significant expansion of telehealth reimbursement for Medicaid providers, even before the CMS rule becomes active. These are great steps forward. Simply by keeping patients in their home locations, Medicaid programs can save significant expenditures on travel and lodging costs, transferring those funds into expanded care for more people. Additionally, those patients who are too frail to travel will be able to get necessary services in a timely manner. It’s a win all the way around. Kudos to CMS for taking this step. Now, if they would only do the same for Medicare.
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