As questions surround the continued surge in telehealth services, including whether providers will continue to expand telemedicine and how regulators will evolve, Caroline Poma authored an article for the March/April 2023 issue of the American Bar Association GPSOLO detailing a key component of the answer: remote patient monitoring.
“To address the evolving use of remote patient monitoring in part due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) expanded and clarified its reimbursement policies for remote patient monitoring, also known as remote physiologic monitoring (both referred to hereinafter as RPM), in the 2021 Physician Fee Schedule Final Rule released in December 2020 and additional rules released in January 2021,” Poma explained. “CMS explains in the 2021 Physician Fee Schedule that RPM ‘involves the collection and analysis of patient physiologic data that are used to develop and manage a treatment plan related to a chronic and/or acute health illness or condition,’ including services such as tracking a patient’s blood pressure, heart rate, pulse oximetry, or blood glucose levels.”
As the use of RPM services becomes widely accepted as a beneficial, proactive health opportunity, the next step to expand its use includes updating regulations to increase the ability for physicians to provide the services and ease the reimbursement process. To do this, the CMS has worked in recent years to remove some barriers once prohibiting the advancement of RPM services, which was further accelerated because of the pandemic.
In detailing steps CMS is taking, Poma pointed to guidance from the 2021 Physician Fee Schedule, the permanent expansion of public health emergency waivers, new RPM Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) code descriptors for remote therapeutic monitoring and a proposed expansion to non-physician qualified healthcare professionals in the 2023 Physician Fee Schedule Propose Rule.
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Luis F. Ruiz