CMS.gov Source | Comments Courtesy of Matt Zavadsky
his could be a beneficial innovation expansion for EMS agencies. Many have leveraged the expansion of telehealth benefits to partner with telehealth providers to provide patient navigation services during emergency calls.
CMS has indicated their belief in the past that some waivers initiated to mitigate the impact of the pandemic may be harder to unwind than they were to initiate – this may be an example of that belief.
There is an interesting Health Affairs Blog on this topic here: https://www.healthaffairs.org/do/10.1377/hblog20200715.454789/full/
NAEMT, AAA, IAFC and other national EMS associations have been working together closely to try and introduce legislative language that authorizes CMS to pay for Treatment in Place (TIP) into upcoming COVID relief Bills. Language to that effect would be a perfect fit for the expansion of telehealth services.
Even without CMS action, many payers and even state Medicaid offices are, or are moving toward paying for TIP services.
Expansion of the telehealth coverage benefit may also have an impact on the CMMI ET3 model, since it was planned as part of the model that telehealth expansion to patient’s residences, or other non-healthcare points of origin would be available to ET3 partner providers. However, now it is available to all providers.
EMS should keep a close eye on these developments to see how permanent expansions of telehealth services can complement and advance the EMS Transformation, and be ready to provide comments and communications through the rule making processes.
Trump Administration Proposes to Expand Telehealth Benefits Permanently for Medicare Beneficiaries Beyond the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency and Advances Access to Care in Rural Areas
Aug 03, 2020
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is proposing changes to expand telehealth permanently, consistent with the Executive Order on Improving Rural and Telehealth Access that President Trump signed today. The Executive Order and proposed rule advance our efforts to improve access and convenience of care for Medicare beneficiaries, particularly those living in rural areas. Additionally, the proposed rule implements a multi-year effort to reduce clinician burden under our Patients Over Paperwork initiative and to ensure appropriate reimbursement for time spent with patients. This proposed rule also takes steps to implement President Trump’s Executive Order on Protecting and Improving Medicare for our Nation’s Seniors and continues our commitment to ensure that the Medicare program is sustainable for future generations.