LeadingAge Calls for Broader Medicare Coverage of Telehealth

Regulation | August 29, 2017 | by Scott Code

In comments to Rep. Pat Tiberi, chair of the U.S. House Ways and Means Health Subcommittee, LeadingAge recommended that Congress explore the expansion of Medicare coverage of telehealth services to make them more available in the long-term and post-acute care sector.

Telehealth and telemedicine are important technology solutions that can help Medicare and Medicaid long term care providers carry out their mission to deliver integrated and person-centered care and services, including chronic care management, that support the health and wellness of residents and clients across the continuum of services.

Medicare’s current limitations on the definition of telehealth, eligible originating sites, geography, eligible clinicians, etc. are significantly hampering the delivery of much needed efficacious services to older adults in different care settings and preventing providers participating in innovative care delivery systems from demonstrating the cost-effectiveness of these services.

Related Statute/Regulation:

Social Security Act, Title XVIII

Proposed Solution:

LeadingAge supports The Creating Opportunities Now for Necessary and Effective Care Technologies (CONNECT) for Health Act (S.1016/H.R.2556) which creates a “bridge” program waiving the Medicare requirement that telehealth services occur at a qualified site, and requires providers to report annually on how telehealth technologies could reduce Medicare spending under the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS). We recommend ensuring that long-term and post-acute care (LTPAC) providers can participate in these demonstrations.

LeadingAge also supports the Telehealth Innovation and Improvement Act of 2017 (S. 787) which allows the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation to test covering expanded telehealth services and certified enhanced telehealth service with no limitations on geographic areas or location of the patient. We are pleased that the bill would allow LTPAC providers to participate in these models.

Finally, LeadingAge would love to see CMS demonstrations led by LTPAC providers, such as life plan communities, nursing homes, and home health agencies, as these organizations have significant experience coordinating care across settings.