Regs to speed telemed con­nec­tion

CMS’ path to cre­den­tial­ing viewed as promis­ing

Modern Healthcare - - Front Page - Shawn Rhea

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

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