Medicare Tests Higher Telehealth Pay in Rural Hospitals

August 17, 2016


Ten critical access hospitals (CAH) in sparsely populated rural counties are participating in a three-year Medicare demonstration program that is testing whether enhanced payments for certain services, including telehealth, will increase coordinated care and patient access in the areas.


Called the Frontier Community Health Integration Project Demonstration, the program is intended to support critical access hospitals and local delivery systems in keeping patients within the community who might otherwise be transferred to distant providers. To achieve that, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services will enhance reimbursement and waive related Medicare rules to test CAH activities in telehealth, ambulance services, and skilled nursing care.


Telehealth:  For CAHs serving as the originating site of a telehealth encounter, the demonstration project will pay 101% of the cost for overhead, salaries, fringe benefits, and the depreciation value of the telehealth equipment instead of the physician fee schedule fixed fee.


View CMS fact sheet