The regulations make it easier for critical access hospitals (CAHs), Rural Health Clinics (RHCs), and Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) to use remote telemedicine services. Specifically, CMS is eliminating a requirement that a physician at one of those providers must be onsite at least once every two weeks. They are simply requiring that those provider organizations have a physician onsite for a “sufficient period of time,” depending on the needs of the patient and facility.
In total, CMS says the rule will save $660 million annually and $3.2 billion over five years. “By eliminating stumbling blocks and red tape we can assure that the healthcare that reaches patients is more timely, that it’s the right treatment for the right patient, and greater efficiency improves patient care across the board,” CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner said in a statement, announcing the rule.
Grand Prairie, Texas-based Rainbow Children's Clinic was the victim of a ransomware attack on its IT systems in August, affecting more than 33,000 patients, according to multiple news media reports this week.