Working With Stakeholders to Expand Access to Telehealth Services
On Monday (June 9), TIA joined a diverse group of stakeholders in congratulating newly-confirmed Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Sylvia Burwell, and requesting that she take steps to utilize innovative technologies that enable health information and communications technology (ICT) solutions to achieve improved care for Americans at lower costs. Specifically, we urged Secretary Burwell to use existing authority to waive the current restrictions in section 1834(m) of the Social Security Act for telemedicine and remote patient monitoring services in the Medicare Shared Savings Program (MSSP), as well as to request comment on the use of telemedicine and remote monitoring solutions by Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) in the forthcoming Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) for the MSSP.
But why would TIA – an association representing hundreds of ICT manufacturers, vendors, and suppliers – be interested in a Medicare program?
The Affordable Care Act requires the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to establish a shared savings program for Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) to facilitate coordination and cooperation among healthcare providers to improve the quality of care for Medicare fee-for-service beneficiaries and reduce unnecessary costs. The HHS Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has established MSSP to facilitate coordination and cooperation among providers to improve the quality of care for Medicare Fee-For-Service beneficiaries and reduce unnecessary costs. Eligible providers, hospitals, and suppliers may participate in the Shared Savings Program by creating or participating in an Accountable Care Organization (ACO).
As of January 30, 2014, there are 123 MSSP ACOs, which spend hundreds of millions on patient care annually. As the stakeholder letter describes, Section 1834(m) of the Social Security Act places arduous restrictions on telehealth services which limit patient access to new technologies, effectively discouraging providers from utilizing advanced ICT solutions in their practices. By removing these restrictions, we believe that the United States can move closer to realizing the known benefits of remote patient monitoring and telehealth services which include improved care, reduced hospitalizations, avoidance of complications, and improved satisfaction, particularly for the chronically ill.
TIA is very excited to join a diverse group of stakeholders in the healthcare space to urge Secretary Burwell to support the wide use of telehealth and remote monitoring solutions to improve the United States’ healthcare system. We look forward to working with all stakeholders to bring eCare solutions to millions of Americans, such as the transmission of real-time sharing of patient-generated health data (PGHD), and allowing face-to-face visits without the obstacles of time and location.