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ACO rules limit patient telehealth options

InformationWeek, May 2, 2011

In formally asking the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to modify the proposed standards for Accountable Care Organizations, the American Telemedicine Association essentially wants Medicare to treat telehealth services just like any other form of care. The ATA has sent a letter to CMS Administrator Donald M. Berwick, MD, asking the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, of which CMS is a part, to use its statutory authority to waive five "formidable statutory restrictions for telehealth services under Medicare Parts A and B" in the final ACO rules. "The failure to waive these five specific Medicare requirements will effectively prohibit the ACOs from coordinating care 'such as through the use of telehealth, remote patient monitoring, and other such enabling technologies,'" the ATA letter said, quoting directly from the ACO proposal.