Skip to content Skip to navigation

Telemedicine Coverage Dropped for Medicare Beneficiaries in 36 States and Territories

March 28, 2013
by Gabriel Perna
| Reprints

According to a press release from the American Telemedicine Association (ATA), Medicare beneficiaries in 97 counties, across 36 states and territories, will lose telemedicine benefits because of the updated federal delineations of Standards Metropolitan Statistical Areas (SMSAs). The SMSAs are federal urban/rural categorizations which, the ATA says, revokes the option for Medicare recipients to receive healthcare services via videoconferencing.

The SMSA adjustments have added designate 28 additional counties as “non-metropolitan,” which allows those residents to qualify for telemedicine. However since telemedicine isn’t covered in metropolitan areas, where more than 80 percent of all Medicare recipients live, the new adjustments are also an increase in the total amount of people that are prohibited from the benefits of telemedicine.

”When it comes to telemedicine, Congress has long overlooked the need for telemedicine services to residents of urban counties, despite the fact that they often suffer similar problems accessing healthcare. Now, because of a statistical quirk, even more people will lose coverage of these services, reducing access and care,” Jonathan Linkous, CEO of the American Telemedicine Association, said in a statement. “Medicare should cover remote health services for all beneficiaries, regardless of location. We call on Congress to ensure that existing beneficiaries will not lose coverage for these services.”

The effort to increase rural telemedicine coverage was the recent focus of Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and John Thune (R-SD). The pair of senators introduced legislation which they hope can create pilot programs that will provide incentives to home health agencies across the country to use remote patient monitoring (RPM).

The list of counties that will lose these benefits can be found here.

Topics

News

Survey: Healthcare Reform, IT Burdens Play Key Role in Reduced Physician Morale

September 27, 2016
Across the U.S., physician morale is down, with leading contributors including regulatory/paperwork burden, dissatisfaction with electronic health records (EHRs), and doubts about the future of healthcare reform.

Study: Patient Identification Errors Can Pose a Serious Risk to Patient Safety

September 27, 2016
While most patient identification errors are caught before patients are harmed, some wrong-patient events are fatal and many have the potential to cause harm. Technology, such as bar coding, can help to prevent these errors, according to an ECRI Institute report.

Randy McCleese Wins CHIME Federal Public Policy Award for CIO Leadership

September 27, 2016
Randy McCleese, vice president of information services and CIO at St. Claire Regional Medical Center in Morehead, Ky., has been recognized as the winner of the College of Healthcare Information Management Executive’s (CHIME) Federal Public Policy Award for CIO Leadership.

USC’s Keck Medical Center Reports Ransomware Attack

September 26, 2016
The Los Angeles-based Keck Medical Center, part of the University of Southern California, has confirmed that two if its servers were hit with ransomware last month, leading to encrypted files that employees could not access.

Department of Justice Awards $8.8 Million in Grant Funding for PDMPs

September 26, 2016
In efforts to help states reduce prescription drug abuse and misuse, the U.S. Department of Justice announced it is providing close to $9 million in grants to 19 state states to help create, implement and enhance prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMPs).

Federal Leaders Release New Tools to Help Providers Better Leverage Health IT

September 26, 2016
President Barack Obama issued a message on Sept. 26 to kick off National Health IT Week, expressing optimism for where the industry stands today as well as hope for “reaching for the next frontier of innovation.”

Care New England Health System Will Pay $400,000 Settlement for Potential HIPAA Violations

September 26, 2016
Providence, R.I.-based Care New England Health System has agreed to pay $400,000 to settle potential HIPAA Privacy and Security Rules violations, stemming from a 2012 data breach at Woman and Infants Hospital of Rhode Island.

AMA Survey: Docs Bullish on Efficient Digital Health Tools

September 26, 2016
While overall physician optimism towards digital health is present across all ages, health IT tools need to be beneficial to clinical practice and not a burden, according to an American Medical Association (AMA) survey on digital health.

Survey: Cloud Technologies Helping Healthcare Organizations Improve Productivity, Efficiency

September 23, 2016
Ninety-five percent of current healthcare organization cloud infrastructure users are planning to increase their usage going forward, and among healthcare organizations not using cloud today, 58 percent of respondents said they are likely to do so in the next two years.

Study Finds Wide Variability in Effectiveness of CPOE Tools in Pediatric Hospitals

September 23, 2016
Researchers investigating the safety of CPOE systems at pediatric inpatient facilities found that while systems on average are able to intercept a majority of potential medication errors, their effectiveness varied widely among implementations.

Saint Francis Health System Acknowledges Breach, but Doesn’t Pay Ransom

September 22, 2016
Despite acknowledging that it had been the victim of a data breach involving ransomware earlier this month, the Tulsa, Okla.-based Saint Francis Health System decided not to act on the ransom demand, according to media reports.

Indian Health Service Awards $6.8 Million Contract to Avera Health for Telemedicine Services

September 22, 2016
Avera Health, a Sioux Falls, South Dakota-based health system will provide telemedicine services for seven hospitals and eight health centers within the Indian Health Service (IHS), as part of $6.8 million contract.

Provider Associations Laud Bipartisan, ACO-Focused Legislation

September 22, 2016
Four major healthcare professional associations on Thursday publicly expressed support for legislation aimed at modifying the Medicare Shared Savings Program for ACOs in order to ease providers’ concerns

AMIA Seeks Out Support for Health IT Safety Strategy, other Innovation Initiatives

September 22, 2016
The Bethesda, Md.-based American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA) took to Capitol Hill this week seeking Congressional support for a national health IT safety strategy, as well as to fund efforts such as the Precision Medicine and Cancer Moonshot Initiatives.

Dr. Mostashari Gives “Report from the Field” Inside Look on Aledade ACOs

September 21, 2016
Farzad Mostashari, M.D., founder of Aledade, a company focused on physician-led accountable care organizations (ACOs), co-published a report this week looking at the highs and lows of Medicare Shared Savings Program (MSSP) ACOs in light of recent performance results released by the government.

Pages