Regs to speed telemed connection
CMS’ path to credentialing viewed as promising
Hospitals and their advocacy groups were relieved last week by the announcement of a proposed change to CMS’ telemedicine credentialing rule. If implemented, the rule would address concerns that, in order to remain eligible for reimbursement, hospitals would soon be required to independently credential and privilege each physician providing telemedicine services to their facilities. The CMS has proposed instead allowing hospitals to accept the credentialing and privileging decisions of the distant-site facilities providing the telemedicine services.
This is “a step in the right direction, and it signifies a jump in understanding and recognition of the importance of telemedicine,” said Jonathan Linkous, CEO of the American Telemedicine Association.
The proposed rule was released for comment just weeks before the July 15 implementation date of a provision in the 2008 Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act that will terminate Congress and CMS’ long-standing automatic recognition of the Joint Commission’s hospital accreditation program for deeming purposes.
Under current law, hospitals with Joint Commission accreditation are automatically deemed eligible for Medicare reimbursement. The new law will require the Joint Commission to periodically secure CMS approval of its standards in order to confer Medicare-deemed status onto hospitals. Those standards must match or exceed Medicare’s conditions of participation.
But a review of the two organizations’ credentialing policies unearthed a significant