An Ounce of Prevention
A broad, bipartisan group of 50 senators recently reintroduced the CONNECT for Health Act for a fourth time, and there is an expectation that this massive telehealth bill could become law. The bill was first introduced in 2016 and is generally considered the most comprehensive telehealth legislation in Congress. The latest version is officially known as the Creating Opportunities Now for Necessary and Effective Care Technologies (CONNECT) for Health Act of 2021.
Even before COVID-19 quarantined us to our homes, the concept of telehealth was quietly gaining the traction and attention it rightfully deserves. Then the pandemic hit and suddenly it seemed like telehealth was everywhere. One form of telehealth that has emerged as a service valued by patients and doctors is remote patient monitoring, sometimes referred to as "RPM."
It's no secret that hypertension is one of the most widespread chronic diseases affecting Americans today. The average American diet and sedate lifestyle have begun to create confounding and devastating effects as Americans age into older adulthood. As more Americans are diagnosed with hypertension, it's important that we fully understand the true cost of this often-silent condition and constructively address ways to create a significant impact on mitigating this gateway chronic disease via solutions such as chronic care management (CCM) and remote patient monitoring (RPM).
Looking to leverage FCC funding to launch or expand a remote patient monitoring program (RPM)? Pylo devices by Prevounce are fully qualified for FCC reimbursement, and the Prevounce platform makes it easy to deliver RPM services and connect to your EMR. Want to learn more? Click here. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has announced it will provide $249.5 million in FCC telehealth "grants" for healthcare providers delivering telehealth services. The application window is open from noon ET on Thursday, April 29, through noon ET on Thursday, May 6 (seven calendar days).
Chronic disease has been quietly waging war on American lives throughout the entire 21st century, quickly rising to the top of the most common causes of death in the United States. Some of the major chronic diseases, such as heart disease, chronic lung disease, and type 2 diabetes, are preventable, yet 6 out of 10 American adults still have at least one chronic disease and 4 out of 10 suffer from two or more chronic diseases. Furthermore, the prevalence of chronic diseases crushes our healthcare system with a confounding $3.8 trillion in annual healthcare costs, leading chronic disease to act as a tremendous drain on both staffing and financial resources.
Just saying the word "audit" is a surefire way to make a practitioner's heart skip a beat. So, while we apologize for including the word in our title, we're glad to have grabbed your attention. It was only a matter of time before remote patient monitoring (RPM) received federal scrutiny. That’s why it wasn’t surprising to see RPM included in a January 2021 announcement by the Office of Inspector General that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) would be conducting a series of audits of Medicare Part B telehealth services in two phases (with RPM part of the second phase).
Chronic care management (CCM) made its debut in 2015 when it was rolled out by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) as a separately paid service under the Medicare fee schedule. The rationale behind its inception was to offer an avenue of compensation for practitioners who provided care to their patients outside of the normal confines of the average office visit. The introduction of CCM coincidentally led to a more efficient means of care teams proactively engaging and managing patients with problematic chronic diseases, in turn improving outcomes and reducing treatment costs.
The use of telemedicine and telehealth, fueled by the pandemic, are quickly solidifying its place as a permanent facet of modern healthcare. Within telehealth, some of the most positive — and exciting — developments are occurring with the use of remote patient monitoring (RPM). The expanding usage of RPM, also referred to as remote physiological monitoring, is improving patient health outcomes, reducing the overall cost of healthcare, and improving the quality of life for many patients with chronic diseases. One of the most beneficial uses of RPM is for those suffering from heart failure. Outpatient care techniques that leverage home monitoring for heart failure management are proactively working to reduce the rates of acute exacerbation, keeping heart failure patients out of the hospital and healthier for longer than ever before.
In an unusual development — albeit a welcomed one — the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has issued a correction to the 2021 Medicare physician fee schedule final rule that clarifies several areas of confusion concerning the billing requirements for remote patient monitoring (i.e., remote physiological management).
From its creation in 1984, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) has been a significant influence in healthcare, helping to recommend and determine the most beneficial and effective clinical preventive services. With the goal of creating a positive impact on the health of all Americans, the Preventive Services Task Force reviews and updates existing clinical preventive service guidelines and evaluates new preventive service recommendations. Through the diligent work of USPSTF, practitioners are armed with the most reliable and current clinical prevention tactics available, helping them to create a positive and lasting impact on the health and wellness of their patients. Read on to learn about six things you should know about the Preventive Services Task Force.