The “Doc Fix” Bill is poised to help the telemedicine and telehealth sectors. Telemedicine is just one of the beneficiaries of the changes that have been introduced by the nicknamed “doc fix” bill, which has the formal title of the Medicare Access to CHIP Reauthorization Act. The bill was passed in Congress on the 15th of April in 2015 and then President Obama signed it into law on the following day. The bill introduces a number of changes regarding the methodologies of reimbursement and financing of US health care, which includes a shift from the common fee-for-service model and moving toward accountable care organizations, payments based on risk and a stronger focus on providing quality and population health.
The organizations that currently utilize telehealth have recognized that these new models for payment are perfectly suited for the increased care management, quality and access that are offered by the technologies of telemedicine. The Act has been a signal to health care providers that when these methods of care are embraced – telehealth and telemedicine – they will be positioning themselves in a way to utilize the latest payment options.
However, this Act has also included a number of specific provisions that benefit remote patient monitoring, specifically for Medicare. Essentially, it states that payment for telehealth services is not being provided by Medicare even if it was not offered previously.
The Act includes a number of provisions that are intended to help and promote innovation and exceptional care delivery by allowing various health care providers to purchase and use the powerful technologies and telemedicine tools that are now available on the market. This is a vision that is related to the prior surveys taken in health care executive leadership. However, when these providers work to continue developing their telemedicine programs and pursue the new payment options, the leaders are displaying that they understand that the smartest option is to wait for the law to get up to speed – since it will.