Alliance Statement on "Next Generation" Accountable Care Organization Initiative

Washington, DC, March 11, 2015 – The Alliance for Connected Care (the Alliance) applauds the decision by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to expand Medicare beneficiaries' access to telehealth services as part of the Next Generation Accountable Care Organization (ACO) initiative. This action is a recognition of the importance of telehealth in achieving the goals of accountable care payment models.

"This policy is a critical step forward in expanding the use of telehealth services in Medicare, which will allow for greater care coordination and improved quality of care," said Joe Peterson, M.D., President of Specialists on Call and Chair of the Alliance. "It represents a major victory for patients and the broader telehealth community, which has been gathering evidence of telehealth's benefits for decades." The Alliance has promoted the value of telehealth in new models of care and advocated for the lifting of reimbursement restrictions through numerous letters (http://www.connectwithcare.org/comments-letters/) and meetings with CMS. The Agency noted in their announcement that telehealth services is one of the innovative tools that Next Generation ACOs will be able to use to enhance the management of care for Medicare beneficiaries. By lifting geographic and originating site barriers, the Agency's policy will ensure that Next Generation ACOs can provide telehealth services to all Medicare beneficiaries, including the frail elderly and those with chronic conditions who do not live in rural areas or want to travel to "originating sites." "CMS has now acknowledged the vital role of telehealth in advancing the future of health care," Dr. Peterson added.

"This is a critical development in CMS' efforts to strengthen the relationships between health care providers and their patients and ensure the timely provision of care. We urge the Agency to take the next step and lift these restrictions under the Medicare Shared Savings Program."

 

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The Alliance for Connected Care (http://www.connectwithcare.org) is a 501(c)(6) organization formed to create a statutory and regulatory environment in which every provider in America is permitted to deliver and be adequately compensated for providing safe, high quality care using Connected Care at his or her discretion, regardless of care delivery location or technological modality. Our members are leading companies from across the health care and technology spectrum, representing insurers, retail pharmacies, technology and telecommunications companies, and health care entrepreneurs. The Alliance also is advised by a distinguished group of patient and provider advocacy organizations.

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