On February 9, 2018, the U.S. Congress passed, and the President signed into law, the Bipartisan Budget of Act of 2018. While the Budget Act primarily provides stopgap funding for the government operations through March 23, the legislation also includes several dozen provisions related to health care – including telehealth. These provisions are largely taken from the Creating High-Quality Results and Outcomes Necessary to Improve Chronic Care (CHRONIC Care) Act of 2017. Our legislative firm, Epstein Becker & Green, P.C., provides an explanation of five telehealth provisions and other health care requirements of the Budget Act.
- Allows Medicare providers to utilize telehealth for home dialysis beginning January 1, 2019
- Allows Medicare Advantage Plans to offer additional telehealth benefits within their annual capitation bids to CMS beginning in 2020
- Allows Medicare Accountable Care Organization (ACO) the ability to expand the use of telehealth services
- Expands reimbursement for telehealth for Medicare beneficiaries with a stroke beginning January 1, 2019
- Allows the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to award supplemental grant funds to health centers to implement evidence-based models for increasing access to high-quality, primary care services which includes expanding the use of telehealth and technology-enabled collaborative learning and capacity building models.
The Budget Act also requires the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to solicit public comment before December 2018 on what types of items and services (including those provided through supplemental health care benefits such as remote patient monitoring, secure messaging, store and forward technologies and other non-face-to-face communication) should be considered as additional telehealth benefits under Medicare Advantage. Lastly, the Budget Act calls for HHS to conduct a study for Congress that includes an analysis of the utilization and expenditures for telehealth services for ACOs.