WASHINGTON – Saturday, Nov. 30, 2013 -- Medicare beneficiaries received good news on the eve of Thanksgiving as the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services approved several changes expanding coverage of telehealth services starting January 2014. The new policies were established in response to proposals by the American Telemedicine Association (ATA) and several of the association’s members last year. They include:
- Expanding the geographic areas where telehealth service can be provided into the fringes of metropolitan areas;
- Adding coverage for transitional care management services (CPT codes 99495 and 99496) and making explicit that coverage includes the Evaluation and Management portion of these services;
- Adding coverage for chronic care services (CPT codes 99487-99489) for patients with multiple chronic conditions that are expected to last at least 12 months or until the death of the patient, and that place the patient at significant risk of death, acute exacerbation/decompensation, or functional decline; and
- Slightly increasing the fee for originating (patient) sites to $24.63 from $24.43
"The proposed new rules, while incremental, represent another step toward integrating the use of telecommunications technology into the delivery of healthcare," said Jonathan D. Linkous, chief executive officer of ATA. "ATA encourages CMS to finalize these changes."
The proposed changes can be found at http://www.ofr.gov/OFRUpload/OFRData/2013-28696_PI.pdf. The telehealth section may be found on pages 536-557 and for chronic care management, pages 589-632.
About the American Telemedicine Association
The American Telemedicine Association, a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization, is the leading resource for the delivery of healthcare using telecommunications technologies. ATA and its diverse membership of medical institutions, professionals and healthcare and technology companies work together to guide the use of telemedicine to improve quality, equity and affordability of healthcare throughout the world. Established in 1993, ATA is headquartered in Washington, DC. For more information, visit www.americantelemed.org.