Newest ACOs to be paid for more telemedicine
Medicare’s recently announced “Next Generation ACO Model” includes a waiver of the program’s existing restrictions on telemedicine reimbursement, allowing such ACOs to be paid for telehealth services in urban areas. Medicare’s existing reimbursement rules limit telehealth services to patients 1) in rural areas (Health Professional Shortage Areas) and 2) receiving care in specific facilities (“originating sites”). The waiver for Next Generation ACOs will extend reimbursement to services performed for patients in metropolitan areas and in their own residences, with some limitations.
It does not appear this waiver will be extended to existing ACOs. Applicants for Next Generation ACOs may apply in either 2015 or 2016, with the first Letter of Intent due by May 1, 2015.
Interstate licensure compact gaining steam
The Interstate Medical Licensure Compact, a proposal that could greatly benefit providers pursuing interstate telemedicine, has been enacted by four states and introduced in another 12. This marks a promising debut for the Compact, which was proposed in late 2014 by the Federation of State Medical Boards.
While the Compact would still require physicians to apply for a license in every participating state before treating patients in that state, it would significantly streamline the licensing process. An interstate commission would administer the process and enforce the Compact’s recommended rules. These rules tie a physician’s eligibility to his/her licensure and good standing in — and a recommendation from — the physician’s “state of principal licensure.”
The states that have enacted laws joining the Compact are Wyoming, South Dakota, Idaho, and Utah. If three more states join, which appears likely, the Compact will take effect in participating states.
B&Co speaks at GPT conference
Last week at the Georgia Partnership for Telehealth’s 2015 Conference in Savannah, Boling & Company presented on telemedicine law. The conference was a strong showing of telemedicine advocates, entrepreneurs and policymakers both in and outside of Georgia. Thanks to Ms. Paula Guy and the GPT team for hosting this event.