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Telemedicine and the issue of reimbursement, P.2

In our last post, we began speaking about the insurance aspect of telemedicine, which is currently a barrier to the widespread use of telemedicine services on a national scale. As we mentioned, though, the state of Minnesota does have a law guaranteeing parity of coverage for telemedicine services through private insurance and state employee health plans, but there are certain limitations on Medicare coverage for telemedicine services.

According to the American Telemedicine Association, Minnesota’s parity law has weaknesses in various areas when it comes to Medicare coverage. These include: patient setting requirements, eligible technologies, eligible providers, qualifying types of physician-provided telemedicine services, coverage of mental and behavioral health services, home health services, and telepresenter requirements. 

The adoption of telemedicine holds a lot of promise for the health care industry. Among the potential benefits of telemedicine is that: it will help ensure better delivery of services and clinical outcomes, and will contribute to patient retention; it will help cut the costs of health care by facilitating a more preventative approach. Addressing the reimbursement issues will help states to move forward with the telemedicine model.

One important point that should be kept in mind is that physicians offering telemedicine services are still subject to supervision by their state medical boards for matters of discipline. In our next post, we’ll look at this issue a bit more in depth.

Source: Healthcare IT News, “The Top Five Reasons Health Systems are Adopting Telehealth - and the One Hurdle They Face,” American Well, Feb. 15, 2016. 

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