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Bipartisan Caucus pushes Medicare Act to allow Telemedicine Expansion


By PatientClick

With the increase need for telemedicine, multiple states are pushing for laws that will change the way Medicare reimburses for services. Congress is currently reviewing a bill introduced by Bipartisan Congressional Caucus that includes Representative Mike Thompson (D-CA), with seven co-sponsors to date (four Republican, three Democrat). The Medicare Telehealth Parity Act of 2017 was designed to increment the expansion of coverage for telehealth services under the Medicare program.

If enacted, the bill would change the way Medicare reimburses telehealth services, specifically by expanding the number of qualifying “geographic locations,” as well as expanding coverage of telehealth services in a series of three phases. Currently, 44 states reimburse for telehealth-provided services under their Medicaid plans.

If passed, the Act will expand the providers that are eligible to offer telehealth services, and that can be reimbursed for telehealth services. Additionally, it will include counties in Metropolitan areas with populations fewer than 50,000. This Act will also include services provided by certified diabetes educators, respiratory therapists, audiologists, occupational therapists, speech language therapists, and physical therapists.

Among other benefits, the Act will expand access to telestroke services, allow remote patient monitoring for patients with chronic condition, and let a Medicare beneficiary’s home to serve as a site of care for remote dialysis, hospice care, outpatient mental health services, and home health services

This progress will be crucial to health care providers and telemedicine companies considering that serves as an opportunity to contribute to shape public policy in the field.

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