Telehealth CONNECT Act: What You Need to Know

As any avid follower of telehealth knows, the subject of reimbursements for the proper use of this technology remains heavily contested, with a plethora of policy debates and regulation issues continuing to hinder our ability to pay physicians for their efforts to improve care.

That all stands to change with a new bill making its rounds through Congress this month: The Creating Opportunities Now for Necessary and Effective Care Technologies for Health Act or CONNECT.

style=”text-align: left;”At its core, CONNECT seeks to remove longstanding barriers that are currently impeding the ability to treat Medicare patients using telehealth and remote patient monitoring (RPM) tools.

What you need to know about the CONNECT Act:

  • It will ensure telehealth and RPM services are basic benefits within Medicare Advantage: Originating telehealth sites will now include telestroke evaluation and management sites, Native American health service facilities, and dialysis facilities – as well as expanded telehealth and RPM use in community health centers and rural health clinics.
  • It will loop into MACRA: Qualifying providers participating in MACRA’s alternative payment models will be allowed to use patient monitoring for patients with chronic conditions.
  • It has widespread support: 67 professional organizations have expressed their support for CONNECT, including the AARP, American Health Insurance Plans, the American Heart Association, and Kaiser Permanente.
  • Its potential for cost savings is huge: Experts believe it could save the healthcare industry $1.8 billion over the next 10 years.

We at Wellbox have been helping physicians to achieve reimbursements through Medicare’s Chronic Care Management program for a full year now, and have witnessed firsthand the difference that these services make in the lives of patients for whom regular care doesn’t suffice.

With this evidence in hand, we applaud the effort of the CONNECT Act to bring the issue of telehealth reimbursement to the forefront of the national discussion around telehealth. For years, physician practices have altruistically sought new solutions to improve the care of their valued patients – now is the time to pay them for using one that truly works.

About the Author

Patrick Stevenson is the Care Management Services Officer for Wellbox, the all-inclusive solution for tracking and billing for Chronic Care Management and Annual Wellness Visits, as well as offering in-demand Telemedicine and Remote Patient Monitoring services.

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