Earlier this month, a bipartisan group of Senators introduced legislation designed to expand the use of telehealth and remote monitoring services in Medicare by removing numerous barriers to reimbursement.
Senate bill S.2484, known as The Creating Opportunities Now for Necessary and Effective Care Technologies (CONNECT) for Health Act, would create a program that would waive Medicare requirements that certain telehealth services occur at designated sites. The bill would also expand the categories of providers eligible to perform and be reimbursed for telehealth services. Currently, Medicare reimbursement for telehealth services is available only for limited provider types, located in certain “distant sites,” and treating patients located at certain “originating sites” in designated geographic regions.
The CONNECT for Health Act would allow qualifying providers participating in alternative Medicare payment models through Medicare to use remote patient monitoring (RPM) to monitor patients with chronic conditions without the current Medicare restrictions. The bill would permit more “originating sites,” including dialysis centers and Native American health service facilities, and would permit more telehealth and RPM in community health centers and rural health clinics.
The bill includes measures designed to ensure the quality of services delivered through telehealth. An independent cost analysis conducted by Avalere and Third Way estimates savings to the federal government of $1.8 billion over ten years.
The bill is sponsored by Sens. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), John Thune (R-S.D.), Mark Warner, (D-Va.), Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) and Ben Cardin (D-Md.).