Anti-Fraud Rule Change Welcomed by Telehealth Lobby

WASHINGTON WATCH: ANTI-FRAUD RULE CHANGE WELCOMED BY TELEHEALTH LOBBY: The Trump administration’s recent overhaul of fraud and abuse laws could make it easier for hospitals and doctors’ offices to embrace virtual health care, advocates of that technology tell POLITICO’s Mohana Ravindranath. The so-called Stark and anti-kickback rules, designed to prevent providers from referring patients to certain services in which they have a financial stake, were also stopping providers from sharing software with each other, health tech groups had warned.

…Under the new rules, providers can give patients smart tablets for telehealth consultations. Health systems can share cybersecurity technology with their physicians’ practices, among other arrangements, HHS said. The revisions “ease unnecessary regulatory burden on physicians and other healthcare providers,” American Telemedicine Association CEO Ann Mond Johnson said. AdvaMed, which represents medical device makers, had pushed for Stark and anti-kickback reform to allow more sharing of mobile apps and patient support services.

Some trade groups thought the rules could have gone further. “The regulatory scheme has grown in complexity to the point where it is beyond comprehension to the average physician or practice administrator,” said Anders Gilbert, senior vice president of government affairs at the Medical Group Management Association.

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