As 2022 capped off another year of unprecedented challenges for the healthcare industry, telehealth service providers were able to breathe a little easier with the 11th-hour passage of bill HR 2617. Known as the Performance Enhancement Reform Act, this legislation folds provisions originally passed through the House in July 2022 into the omnibus spending package for the calendar year 2023, and beyond. While numerous measures were approved, the most beneficial to the telehealth industry are listed below.
Benefits to the Telehealth Industry
- Extending the telehealth waiver for remote PT services until at least 12/31/24: Originally set to expire 151 days after the end of the COVID-19 public health emergency
United States Capitol Building
(PHE), this new extension ensures that, although not entirely sheltered from funding cuts, remote therapeutic monitoring (RTM) services will continue to be reimbursed for the foreseeable future.
- Temporary suspension of the geographic site requirement: Long considered by many healthcare providers – and the American Medical Association – to be an archaic policy that restricts remote services to patients living in rural areas, but also required them to travel to specified facilities to receive those services.
- Continuing to allow an individual’s home to serve as the originating site: By eliminating commutes, this removes a barrier-to-access and increases the likelihood that those in need can receive the appropriate care. Furthermore, patients treated within their own homes tend to be more open and honest with their healthcare providers, improving their outcomes.
- Supporting audio-only treatments in select circumstances: Extends coverage for the visually impaired, as well as benefiting those whose internet speeds may not adequately support streaming capabilities.
An examination into Medicare-funded telehealth programs implemented from January 1, 2022, through December 31, 2024, will shed light on what types of care were provided and where the treatments were conducted, producing data that will most assuredly be used to further assess RTM’s and in what environments those served tend to use them the most.
While payment parity, in which in-person clinicians and remote providers are reimbursed equally, is gaining traction and has been normalized across many states, the federal government continues to tread cautiously before mandating the practice countrywide. However, these provisions are a definitive win and should instill faith in the growing acknowledgment and acceptance of the efficacy of remote services.
What Does this Mean For You?
To learn more about how these provisions impact your practice, contact firstname.lastname@example.org. We are happy to offer a free 30-minute consultation.