American Telemedicine Association Applauds Landmark Expansion of Medicare Telehealth Coverage
CHRONIC Care Act, Part of Newly-Enacted Bipartisan Funding Bill, Will Vastly Speed Diagnosis and Improve Care for Seniors
WASHINGTON, D.C., February 9, 2018.
President Trump this morning signed into law a funding bill that includes the entirety of the Creating High-Quality Results and Outcomes Necessary to Improve Chronic (CHRONIC) Care Act. Originally introduced by Sens. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Mark Warner (D-VA) and Johnny Isakson (R-GA), with significant input from ATA and its members, the new law will expand telehealth coverage for accountable care organizations (ACOs), improve flexibility for telehealth use under Medicare Advantage plans, and allow nationwide reimbursement for tele stroke care and home dialysis treatment. The new law provides the largest boost to Federal telehealth coverage and payment in 17 years.
“The passage of CHRONIC means more options and flexibility for both providers and patients, including better access to lifesaving treatments, tailored care for beneficiaries coping with multiple chronic health conditions, healthier patients and lower health care costs,” said Gary Capistrant, Chief Policy Officer of the American Telemedicine Association. “This expansion of Medicare coverage for telehealth represents the fruit of decades of hard work by ATA members who have advocated tirelessly to improve and modernize care options for their patients.”
The new law will:
- Expand telehealth options for the nineteen million Americans enrolled in Medicare Managed Care plans;
- Facilitate improved timeliness of diagnosis and treatment for stroke patients—the leading cause of adult long-term disability and fourth leading cause of death in U.S.;
- Enable kidney dialysis at home, providing opportunity for dialysis patients’ required visited to be conducted via video and;
- Allow accountable care organizations (ACOs), who are responsible for the overall cost of care to provide telehealth for all Medicare beneficiaries and services to them at home. Presently, this level of Medicare telehealth coverage is only extended to 44 Next Generation ACOs;
These improvements were made in addition to the recent decision by the Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Service to cover remote patient monitoring for the millions of Medicare with chronic health conditions.