Hospital-based telemedicine services continue to rapidly expand across the country, allowing providers to deliver care to rural areas and better allocate the staffing and availability of specialist physicians such as neurologists and emergency medicine. However, despite the uptick in telemedicine services at hospitals, many medical staff offices still use the traditional “primary source verification” process to credential physicians. For example, in the Foley & Lardner 2017 Telemedicine & Digital Health Survey Report, only 33% of respondent hospitals or provider groups use telemedicine credentialing by proxy. The traditional credentialing process is far more time-consuming and costly than credentialing by proxy, and hospitals (particularly originating site hospitals that receive/purchase telemedicine services) should consider how to take advantage of the streamlined credentialing by proxy process offered by both CMS and the Joint Commission. At the same time, non-hospital telemedicine companies and provider groups (i.e., the distant site providers delivering/selling telemedicine services), should consider structuring their operations and processes to allow the use of credentialing by proxy with their clients. It can reduce the onboarding and go-live time from several months to several days, thus allowing telemedicine providers to start delivering services much more quickly.
While recent legislation impacting the Emergency Medical Services (EMS)/ambulance industry drew attention inside the industry for its reduction in Health and Human Services’ (HHS) spend on non-emergent dialysis transports and the five-year extension of the Medicare add-ons for the EMS industry, the legislation created a new forward-looking reporting obligation. Specifically, as part of the Continuing Resolution enacted into law on February 8, 2018, Congress authorized HHS to develop a “data collection system … to collect cost, revenue, utilization” and other information “determined appropriate by” HHS from EMS systems. Public Law 115-123, §50203 (b)(17)(A) (emphasis added). Congress provided HHS until December 31, 2019, to create the data collection system, the ambulance suppliers that will need to provide the data, and the type of representative samples that they will need to supply to HHS. If selected, a company will need to provide HHS with the requested data – including data about, for example, revenue, costs, vehicles, and ambulance utilization rates – once a year, with the suppliers that need to report to HHS rotating on a regular basis.
The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act passed late last year and became effective as of January 1, 2018. The Act includes a new provision that subjects certain “excess compensation” paid by exempt organizations (organizations exempt from income tax under section 501(a) of the Internal Revenue Code (the Code)) to the corporate income tax.
The telemedicine industry has been abuzz upon learning that provider-friendly legislation was included in the new federal Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018, signed into law by the President on February 9, 2018. But telehealth providers, hospitals, and entrepreneurs need to cut through the hype and understand what the provisions will really do for telehealth. This article summarizes the key takeaways and insights on how the recent legislation will benefit the telehealth industry.
The new year continues to offer big opportunities for telemedicine and digital health companies, and one of the most notable developments is CMS’ decision to reimburse providers for remote patient monitoring (RPM). Effective January 1, 2018, the Medicare program will pay providers for RPM services billed under CPT code 99091. The service is currently defined as the “collection and interpretation of physiologic data (e.g., ECG, blood pressure, glucose monitoring) digitally stored and/or transmitted by the patient and/or caregiver to the physician or other qualified health care professional, qualified by education, training, licensure/regulation (when applicable) requiring a minimum of 30 minutes of time.”