GAO: Medicare Payment Models May Spur Telehealth
Use of telehealth and remote patient monitoring may expand as a result of new Medicare payment models and the new system for updating Medicare payment rates for physicians, according to an April 2017 report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO).
- The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) currently operates eight new payment models and demonstrations in which certain Medicare telehealth requirements have been waived, such as requirements for the locations and facility types where beneficiaries can receive telehealth services, said GAO. These payment models include Next Generation ACOs and CMS bundled payment initiatives.
- The GAO report also said that telehealth may increase under the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) for physicians—part of the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization (MACRA) Act of 2015—which allows physicians to use telehealth and, in some instances, remote patient monitoring to meet quality performance criteria.
GAO also reported that some provider associations cited concerns over payment and coverage restrictions as factors that create barriers in greater use of telehealth.