A CMS report on the usage of Medicare telehealth between the period of 2014 to 2016 reveals that although telehealth utilization has indeed risen among Medicare beneficiaries, the restrictions on Medicare reimbursement are slowing down adoption.

The report showed that over 80,000 Medicare fee-for-service beneficiaries utilized more than 250,000 telehealth services by 2016, representing an increase of just over 48 percent in the number of beneficiaries to whom telehealth services were furnished and an increase of more than 65 percent in the telehealth services furnished by practitioners versus 2014. Despite this, the number of beneficiaries receiving telehealth services comprised a tiny portion of Medicare enrollees, representing a mere one-quarter of a percent of the more than 35 million Medicare fee-for-service beneficiaries that were analyzed.

Per CMS, existing Medicare reimbursement rules are limiting telehealth services adoption. To be more specific, statutory barriers in regards to expanding telehealth for Medicare fee-for-service exist in the Social Security Act. Section 1834(m) of the Social Security Act. The rule bars Medicare reimbursement for telehealth services to patients that do not reside in a certain healthcare setting, something referred as originating sites.

To read more about these rules, visit https://revcycleintelligence.com/news/medicare-reimbursement-rules-limit-telehealth-adoption.

This update is by Medical Accounts Systems, a full-service healthcare revenue cycle management company providing a number of services including insurance follow up and managed care disputes, physician reimbursement, extended business office services, and more. For additional information on our services or for any questions you may have on topics such as medical revenue cycle consulting, please call 877-759-6315