Telehealth Group Supports CMS Move to Expand Remote Monitoring

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The Telecommunications Industry Association is supporting a federal proposal to require Medicare Advantage Organizations to provide remote monitoring technologies as a mandatory supplement benefit.

The proposal from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is among changes being made to Medicare Advantage capitation rates and Parts C and D payment policies for calendar year 2015.

In a March 7 letter to CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner, TIA urged CMS to realize the potential of remote access technologies, including remote patient monitoring solutions, which have been shown to improve care, reduce hospitalizations, and decrease cost, among other benefits. The letter was in response to a CMS advance notice of "Methodological Changes for Calendar Year (CY) 2015 for Medicare Advantage (MA) Capitation Rates, Part C and Part D Payment Policies and 2015 Call Letter," issued on Feb. 21.

"Although CMS is currently limited by statutory definitions for telehealth services, CMS should allow Medicare Advantage Organizations to use such technologies in contract year 2015 as mandatory supplemental benefits, and where possible expand upon those benefits," stated the letter from TIA. "We strongly believe that including remote monitoring solutions as a mandatory supplemental benefit will serve as a significant step towards modernizing the delivery of care by extending beyond the walls of the hospital room."

TIA's letter to Tavenner follows a similar March 4 correspondence to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, in which the American Telemedicine Association urged HHS to allow Medicare providers paid under alternative payment methods the flexibility to use telehealth as a means to add value for Medicare and its beneficiaries.

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