White House effort to roll back rules may facilitate telehealth

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The Obama administration has announced a series of regulations that could be eliminated in an effort to save businesses about $10 billion over the next five years. One of the proposed rule rollbacks aims to make it easier for health care providers to use telehealth [as in videoconferencing] to treat Medicaid and Medicare beneficiaries living in rural areas by removing the need to credential physicians at each remote medical center. Item from iHealthBeat: White House effort to roll back rules aims to facilitate telehealth.

[Update 30 August] Jon Linkous, CEO of the American Telemedicine Association (ATA), in his blog cites CMS as estimating that the elimination of duplicative credentialing and privileging for telemedicine will result in roughly $13.6 million in net savings. In Federal terms, that’s 5 cents. But more importantly it seems to have gotten a few in this present Administration (other than Aneesh Chopra) thinking about telemedicine and those face-to-face video chats with your PCP. Or at least the ATA will have you think so. We’ll be waiting for the rest….LinkousThink 26 August.


  1. peter shah m.d.

    While this removal of these prerequisites or credentialing requirements occured couple ago, the 9,000 pound gorilla still is standing in the room…….Medicare and Medicaid needs to provide reimbursement for telehealth services. While there are direct to consumer, cash pay services for telehealth, the TeleHealth tsunami will only occur when pvt and public sector insurance groups recognize telehealth as a true billing option.

  2. The operative words are ‘without needing’. There are still state medical societies which have to approve, and of course credentialing across state lines (often needed when a rural hospital is closer to a larger city in the next state) is not addressed. In fact, the press has had little detail on what I suspect is merely a trial balloon.

    Cass Sunstein, Mr. Nudge himself, is, for the first time in quite a while, poking his head out. One wonders whether his time is growing short in this administration and he needs to raise his profile in the healthcare community.

    Dr. Shah gets to the heart of the matter, the first two of the FBQ: who pays, how much–and then who monitors the information and who actions it. I’d say it’s more like an elephant sitting in the corner….

  3. peter shah md

    Furthermore, with FDA now watching for health related apps/devices and regulating them, it is only time that when the telehealth process is about to gain steam, then there will probably be FDA, FCC, and every 3-4 letter abbreviated group wanting to make sure patient info is super secure. Look at the lapse of patient ID security in California HIE couple weeks ago.