AMA, HIMSS among organizations urging CMS to waive restrictions on telehealth

Telemedicine consultation
CMS proposed seven new codes to expand telehealth reimbursement for physicians, but providers and IT groups say the agency can do more. (Credit: Getty/AndreyPopov)

Provider groups and health IT advocacy organizations are generally pleased with a proposal issued by federal officials to expand Medicare coverage for telehealth services under the 2018 physician fee schedule, but several are pushing for even more flexibility to integrate connected health technology.

In July, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services issued a proposal to add seven new codes to the list of telehealth services covered by Medicare’s physician fee schedule in 2018. The new codes expanded reimbursement for counseling patients about the need for a lung cancer screening, chronic care management, psychotherapy for crisis and health risk assessments.

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CMS also requested feedback about unbundling payments for remote patient monitoring, particularly for physiological data.  

In comments submitted to the agency, a broad range of provider and health IT groups uniformly supported the agency’s decision to both expand telehealth services and restructure remote patient monitoring payments. But several groups, including the American Medical Association (AMA) and the HIMSS say CMS can do more to remove payment restrictions.

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