Might Medicare be ready to reimburse for mobile care?


Could it be that glacially-slow-to-innovate Medicare is wholeheartedly embracing mobile healthcare?

Microsoft's Dr. Bill Crounse says on his HealthBlog that the decision by CMS to reimburse physicians for online consultations--a rule that went into effect in 2008--likely affects other electronic services such as texting, email and instant messaging. Crounse quotes a message he received from Seattle-area otolaryngologist Dr. Thomas Gumprecht: "CMS now permits direct billing of electronic services--and it is important to say ALL ELECTRONIC SERVICES--PHONE, FAX, EMAIL, VIDEO, TEXTING--because logically it is a professional medical service being rendered electronically and the exact mode should not be one or the other, but a continuum between all of them," Gumprecht wrote.

Crounse, so far, hasn't able to confirm this statement with a specific citation of CMS rules, nor is he--or I--a lawyer, but it makes sense. Why shouldn't text messages and mobile messaging be reimbursable services as long as a physician is providing professional advice? For that matter, why shouldn't private payers adopt such a policy? It all seems so simple to me. - Neil

Suggested Articles

The newly launched Center for Connected Health will be largest telehealth hub in the Philadelphia region, according to Penn Medicine.

The FDA commissioner wants to use additional funding under Trump's budget to advance digital health initiatives and integrate real-world data.

The FDA's approval of an app that uses AI to notify specialists of a potential stroke offers new possibilities for triage software that uses CDS.