Congress to Revisit Telehealth for Chronic Care Legislation

April 2017 ~

The Creating High-Quality Results and Outcomes Necessary to Improve Chronic (CHRONIC) Care Act of 2017(pdf), a bill targeting Medicare payment reform for chronic disease management services, was reintroduced to Congress this month.

The legislation seeks to promote the use of telehealth by eliminating geographic restrictions on telestroke consult services, expand telehealth coverage under MA part B, and give Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) more flexibility to use telehealth services.

The bill includes provisions to:

  • Extend CMS’ Independence at Home demonstration for two years, which establishes home-based primary care teams for Medicare beneficiaries with multiple chronic conditions, and increase the cap on the total number of participating beneficiaries from 10,000 to 15,000;
  • Add the patient’s home freestanding dialysis facilities, without geographic restriction, to the list of originating sites for monthly telehealth assessments with a nephrologist, beginning in 2019, though Medicare would not provide a separate originating site payment if the service was conducted at home;
  • Eliminate geographic restrictions on telestroke consultation services, beginning in 2019; though the hospital where the patient is located and the location of the physician providing the telemedicine consult would not receive separate originating site payments;
  • Expand telehealth coverage under Medicare Advantage Plan B, beginning in 2020; and
  • Give ACOs more flexibilityto use telehealth services.

The CHRONIC Care Act was first introduced last December and over the course of the bill’s development, the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) has provided input to the working group on several occasions including in response to the release of a policy options document in January 2016.

For more information, see the section-by-section summary(pdf).

 

Source(s): mHealthIntelligence; Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society;

 

 

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