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Medicare is Still Behind on Telehealth

Medicare is Still Behind on Telehealth

Medicare has long been criticized for its narrow restrictions on the coverage and reimbursement of telehealth services. A new report to Congress by the US Government Accountability Office (GAO) shows that not much has changed over the years.

Mandated by the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act, the GAO report noted that Medicare and the US Department of Defense (DoD) trailed the Veterans Affairs (VA) system in their use of telehealth and remote patient monitoring (RPM). On the other hand, the report painted an optimistic picture of Medicare demonstrations and new care delivery models that, it said, might increase the use of telehealth in Medicare.

But Gary Capistrant, chief policy officer of the American Telemedicine Association (ATA), told Medscape Medical News that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is still moving very slowly on telehealth. His view is buttressed by the report’s finding that less than 1% of Medicare patients received care remotely compared with 12% of VA patients…


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