GAO studies challenges, opportunities surrounding remote patient monitoring

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Wednesday, April 19, 2017

WASHINGTON – Concerns over payment and coverage restrictions are barriers to healthcare providers and patients using telehealth and remote patient monitoring to improve quality of care, according to a new study from the Government Accountability Office. An example of such a restriction, the GAO says: Medicare telehealth coverage limits the geographic and practice settings in which beneficiaries may receive these services. For the study, the GAO reviewed Medicare documents and regulations, and interviewed agency officials. It also selected nine general and medical specialty associations with expertise and interest in telehealth or remote patient monitoring, and interviewed representatives from each of those associations. The GAO also found that Medicare models, demonstrations and a new merit-based incentive payment system have the potential to expand the use of telehealth and remote patient monitoring. It notes that CMS supports eight models and demonstrations in which certain Medicare telehealth requirements have been waived, such as requirements for the locations and facility types where beneficiaries can receive telehealth services.