Lack of Reimbursement Fails to Dampen Sentiment on Telehealth
U.S. health systems are determined to expand their telehealth software systems among other initiatives, despite most of them not receiving reimbursements for certain services, according to a survey.
UPMC’s Center for Connected Medicine and the Health Management Academy conducted the poll of 35 health systems nationwide. It showed that more than 50% are not getting reimbursed for remote patient monitoring (RPM) or virtual care.
The respondents, particularly the over 70% who have not received reimbursements, anticipate that RPM and virtual care will be more in-demand in 2018. According to a UPMC report, this trend will take place as health systems seek to balance “the remote monitoring investment with the potential for lost hospital revenue.”
In simpler terms, many companies expect the likely revenue loss from RPM investments to pale in comparison with the expected surge in demand next year. The report claimed that several health systems acknowledged that a growing “at-risk” population would be a factor in countering financial setbacks. Aside from demand, IT systems for healthcare will improve with Medicare’s final rules under the Quality Payment Program (QPP) and doctor fees.
An increase in payment rates awaits American physicians in 2018, which paved the way for the addition of several telehealth services. Patients will also have more options, as the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services expanded the number of Medicare-covered telehealth codes to 96, adding chronic care, lung cancer screening, and psychotherapy crisis management among others.
Gary Capistrant, American Telemedicine Association chief policy officer, believes that the new rule reflects Medicare’s attempt to modernize its telehealth services on par with global standards.
The looming changes in the U.S. healthcare industry in 2018 will require hospitals and professionals to keep up with changing trends in IT, as growth prospects seem promising.