The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has released a final rule to streamline credentialing processes for physicians and other practitioners providing telemedicine services.

The rule is intended to reduce burdens for small and critical access hospitals to participate in telemedicine programs that larger hospitals offer.

CMS previously has required small and critical access hospitals to grant practice privileges--after individualized consideration of qualifications--to the participating physicians providing the consultations from distant hospitals.

Under the final rule, the hospital receiving the telemedicine services "may rely upon" information provided by the consulting hospital when making privileging decisions for physicians offering the consultations.

The rule is available now at and will be published in the Federal Register on May 5.

--Joseph Goedert


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