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GAO Report Highlights Insufficient Payment of Services as a Barrier to Adoption of Telehealth Services

April 21, 2017

A recent report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) recognizes the potential telehealth has to improve or maintain quality of care, but adoption of telehealth lacks due to insufficient reimbursement for services.

The April report looks at telehealth and remote patient monitoring (RPM) use in Medicare settings. Findings from the report cite that representatives of both the patient and provider community rated concerns regarding payment and coverage restrictions as potential barriers to the use of telehealth services.

Patient and provider representation in the report signal significant barriers in the adoption of telehealth and RPM in the Medicare around the following:

  • Three out of six provider associations and one of two patient associations believe cost increase or inadequate payment to be a very significant barrier to telehealth and remote patient monitoring
  • Three out of six provider associations and one of two patient associations believe coverage of services for telehealth and remote patient monitoring to be a very significant barrier.
  • Two out of six provider associations and two of two patient associations believe infrastructure requirements are a significant barrier to the use of remote patient monitoring services.

The Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA) provides direction for the GAO to study telehealth and RPM. Findings of this report highlight major challenges in payment and coverage for health care delivery services in telehealth and remote patient monitoring.

Telehealth can be used to deliver life-saving care as well as routine care delivery. HAP continues to work with health care stakeholders to promote the use of telehealth services to expand patient access to high-quality health care across the commonwealth. HAP will continue to provide resources on telehealth on our website.

For more information about telehealth, please contact Stephanie Watkins, vice president state legislative advocacy.

For more information about telehealth parity and MACRA, please contact Kate Slatt, senior director, health care finance policy

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