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

House Republicans, Short of Votes, Withdraw the American Health Care Act

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin) called off a scheduled vote in the House of Representatives Friday on Republicans’ embattled healthcare bill, the American Health Care Act (ACHA), as a growing number of Republicans opposed the bill, Ryan announced during a press conference at 4 pm Friday.

Trump Administration Appoints Peter Severino to Head Office for Civil Rights

Roger Severino, a former staffer at The Heritage Foundation, has been appointed as the director of the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

ACP: EHRs Have Great Benefits, but Raise Ethical Questions, Too

Electronic health records (EHRs) should facilitate high value patient-centered care, strong patient-physician relationships, and effective training of future physicians, but they also raise ethical questions, the ACP wrote.

Allegheny Health Network, VA Pittsburgh Integrate EMR Systems

Allegheny Health Network (AHN), based in Pittsburgh, and VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System (VAPHS), have announced the successful integration of their electronic medical record (EMR) platforms.

Wisconsin Urology Group Notifies Patients of Data Breach Due to Ransomware Attack

Wauwatosa, Wis.-based Metropolitan Urology Group has notified its patients of a breach of unsecured patient health information due to a ransomware attack back in November 2016.

Study: For Post-Op Patients, Mobile Apps for Follow-Up Care Led to Fewer In-Person Visits

For patients undergoing ambulatory surgery, those who used a mobile app for follow-up care attended fewer in-person visits post- operation than patients who did not use the app, according to a study in JAMA Surgery.