A new piece of legislation titled “CONNECT for Health Act” www.congress.gov was introduced in the House and Senate by Senators Brian Schatz (D-HI), Roger Wicker (R-MS), Thad Cochran (R-MS), Ben Cardin (D-MD), John Thune (R-SC), and Mark Warner D-VA). Representatives Diane Black (R-TN), Peter Welch (D-VT), and Gregg Harper (R-MS) introduced companion legislation in the House.
The bill would expand the use of telehealth and Remote Patient Monitoring (RPM) services in Medicare to provide cost savings and increase the quality of care. One of the main goals is to enable the use of Remote Patient Monitoring (RPM) for certain patients with chronic conditions.
Specifically, the bill would:
- Create a bridge program to help providers reach the goals of the Medicare Access and CHIP reauthorization Act and the Merit-based Incentive Payment System by using telehealth and RPM without most of the restrictions
- Allow Native American health service facilities plus dialysis facilities for home dialysis patients in certain cases to be originating telestroke evaluation and management sites.
- Permit further telehealth and RPM in community health centers and rural health clinics
- Allow telehealth and RPM to be basic benefits in Medicare Advantage without most of the restrictions
- Clarify that the telehealth or RPM technologies made under Medicare by a healthcare provider to furnish these services would not be considered remuneration
The bill was announced on Capitol Hill featuring speeches from Members of Congress plus a panel discussion was held with key industry stakeholders including Tom Leary HIMSS Vice President of Government Relations.
Also, the Third Way/Avalere Health http://avalere.com study was released citing the potential cost savings for telehealth and RPM. An Avalere analysis of three major provisions in the bill in the study showed $1.8 billion in savings over 10 years.