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Why hospitals are adopting telehealth
An American Hospital Association study finds growing evidence that telehealth cuts costs, expands access to care, reduces follow-up visits, and improves outcomes while reducing nursing home admissions, among other benefits.
Optimism tinged with caution
While the AHA finds great value in telehealth in patient homes and via traditional telemedicine consultations, it starts the study with a look at barriers. Limited insurance coverage remains a major obstacle, with Medicare only paying for a narrow set of services and only in rural areas. However, CMS recently expanded use for providers in certain initiatives including Bundled Payments and the Next Generation Accountable Care Organization model. Most Medicaid plans reimburse telehealth but coverage varies among the states. Private payers are more open, aligning incentives to ensure high quality to avoid readmissions and other adverse outcomes.