Payment Pilot for Rural Hospitals

The Hospital Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania’s (HAP) survey for 2016, shows that 70 percent of Pennsylvania acute hospitals have implemented telemedicine in at least one unit.

The Governor of Pennsylvania Tom Wolf, the Pennsylvania Department of Health Secretary  Karen Murphy, and the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation’s Dr. Steve Cha, have just announced federal approval to launch a new voluntary payment pilot for rural hospitals in the state. Presently, rural hospitals provide access to care for 1.8 million residents in Pennsylvania.

The new multi-payer pilot initiative is a payment model in which hospitals are provided a fixed amount of funding for a fixed period of time to improve health in the state’s rural communities rather than use the present fee-for-service rates for individual services or cases.

Secretary Murphy indicates that the pilot will start January 1, 2018 with six participants expanding to at least 30 hospitals during the next five years. Also the state will receive federal funding for $25 million during the next five years to create a Rural Health Redesign Center to offer technical assistance to participants in the model.

HAP will work with rural hospitals to evaluate the proposal and assess the potential for broader impact. HAP will also continue to work with lawmakers and healthcare providers to define the key components of telehealth, set licensing requirements, and require health insurers to provide reimbursement for these service if they pay for the same service provided in person.

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