Archive for Telehealth

 

Federal Health Policy Update for November 17

The following is the latest health policy news from the federal government for the week of November 11 to 17.  Some of the language used below is taken directly from government documents.

Provider Relief Fund

  • Providers that cited extenuating circumstances for failing to submit Provider Relief Fund financial reports on time for reporting period 3 and were approved to submit their reports late must submit those late reports by December 2.  Learn more here.

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

  • CMS has posted three downloadable sample formats that hospitals can use to meet federal requirements for posting in a machine-readable format their prices for a selected range of medical services.  Find them here (scroll down to the first three listings under “Resources”).
  • CMS has written to state Medicaid and CHIP officials describing 2023 and 2024 updates to the Core Set of children’s health care quality measures for Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program and the Core Set of health care quality measures for adults enrolled in Medicaid.  CMS encourages states to use Core Set data to identify disparities in care and to develop targeted quality improvement efforts to advance health equity, so these updates could affect the data

117th Congress’s Waning Hours

In addition to its biggest challenge – funding the federal government, authorization for which ends on December 16 – Congress has a number of health care issues on its agenda that at least some lawmakers and health care industry stakeholders would like to see it address before the year ends.

Those issues include the cut in Medicare payments to physicians scheduled to take place on January 1; the desire of many to make permanent some of the flexibilities to use telehealth that were temporarily authorized in response to the COVID-19 public health emergency; additional pandemic funding for new vaccines, new treatments, and more; reorganization of the Food and Drug and Administration; and more.

Learn more about these priorities in the Washington Post article “It’s lame-duck time.  Here are Congress’s health priorities.”…

FEDERAL HEALTH POLICY UPDATE FOR November 3

The following is the latest health policy news from the federal government for the week of October 31 to November 3.  Some of the language used below is taken directly from government documents.

Medicare Payment Regulations

In the past week CMS has published four regulations presenting how it will pay providers in the coming year.

A Bump in the Road for Telehealth?

Maybe.

A new study suggests that telehealth follow-up may not be ideal after a visit to the hospital emergency department.

According to a study based on a very limited scope of ED cases,

… telehealth follow-up was associated with 28.3 more repeated ED encounters and 10.6 more return hospital admissions per 1000 patients compared with in-person follow-up.

Further,

telehealth follow-up visits after ED encounters were associated with higher rates of repeated hospital visits even after controlling for presentation acuity, comorbidities, and sociodemographic factors.

Learn more about how the study was conducted and what it found in the JAMA Network article “Association Between In-Person vs Telehealth Follow-up and Rates of Repeated Hospital Visits Among Patients Seen in the Emergency Department.”

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Results of Annual Survey of State Medicaid Programs

The Kaiser Family Foundation has published the results of its annual survey of state Medicaid programs for the 2022 and 2023 fiscal years.  Among the survey’s findings (in language taken directly from the Kaiser report):

  • More than 3/4 of states that contract with MCOs [managed care organizations] enroll ≥75% of all beneficiaries in MCOs
  • Some states reported newly implementing or expanding MCO programs
  • States also report continued use of other service delivery and payment system reforms
  • Two-thirds of states are using strategies to improve race, ethnicity, and language data
  • About one-quarter of states are tying MCO financial incentives to health equity
  • States are also leveraging MCO contracts in other ways to promote equity-related goals
  • States report far more benefit expansions than benefit cuts
  • States are most frequently expanding behavioral health and pregnancy/postpartum services
  • Most states allow MCOs to cover “in lieu of” services, especially BH [behavioral health] and SDOH [social determinants of health] services
  • States have seen high telehealth utilization across Medicaid enrollees
  • States are addressing telehealth quality and other challenges
  • Most states are adopting permanent telehealth expansions, though some are considering limits

Other subjects addressed in the report include provider taxes and intergovernmental transfers, supplemental Medicaid payments, health equity, …