Physicians Push Back Against Medicare Telemedicine Proposal

A proposal to enable Medicare to make greater use of telemedicine as a means of serving patients is receiving surprising pushback from physicians.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has proposed paying doctors $14 for what would amount to a five-minute telephone “check-in” call with patients.

Some physicians note that they already have such telephone conversations patients – and do not charge for those calls.  Others fear the new service will increase their patients’ health care costs because they would incur a co-pay for such conversations.  The chairman of the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC), himself a physician, has written that “Direct-to-consumer telehealth services…appear to expand access, but at a potentially significant cost and without evidence of improved quality.”

Learn more about CMS’s telemedicine proposal, what Medicare hopes to accomplish by expanding access to telehealth services, and why some providers do not share CMS’s enthusiasm for telemedicine in this Kaiser Health News article.

 

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