Vice President of Public Relations
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December 31, 2018
AMGA Supports Expansion of Telehealth Benefits in Medicare Advantage Proposal
Rule Illustrates Importance of CHRONIC Care Act
Alexandria, VA – AMGA today recommended that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) finalize its proposal to offer Medicare Advantage (MA) plans the ability to offer a broad spectrum of covered Medicare Part B services on a telehealth basis. In a pending regulation, CMS is proposing to implement reforms included as part of the Creating High-Quality Results and Outcomes Necessary to Improve Chronic (CHRONIC) Care Act of 2017. AMGA was a strong advocate for enactment of the CHRONIC Care Act, which included a number of AMGA priorities, including expansion of telehealth benefits within the MA program.
“As we advance patient-centric care, telehealth is an important tool that should be as broadly available to providers as possible,” said AMGA President and CEO Jerry Penso, M.D., M.B.A. “Physicians are in the best position to determine how to meet their patients’ needs and CMS’ proposal creates a framework that will encourage MA plans to work with the provider community to develop coverage policies that encourage the appropriate use of telehealth.”
In comments to CMS on the proposed rule, AMGA recommended that CMS not place any limits on the types of Part B services available through the expanded telehealth authority. Instead, providers should have the option to determine if care provided via telehealth is appropriate or if the treatment warrants an in-person visit. To that end, AMGA also agreed with CMS that any benefit offered via the additional telehealth benefits also needs to be covered as an in-person benefit. This ensures that providers can tailor their care to best meet an individual patient’s needs. To encourage that patients work closely with their providers, AMGA also recommended that CMS adopt its proposal to require MA plan to cover additional telehealth benefits through contracted providers.
“Historically, telehealth has faced some restrictions on its availability. We strongly supported the effort in Congress to expand how providers and patients can benefit from telehealth and believe CMS’ proposal is a welcome addition to the MA program,” Penso said.
AMGA is a trade association leading the
transformation of health care in America. Representing multispecialty medical
groups and integrated systems of care, we advocate, educate, innovate, and
empower our members to deliver the next level of high performance health. AMGA
is the national voice promoting awareness of our members’ recognized excellence
in the delivery of coordinated, high quality, high-value care. More than 175,000
physicians practice in our member organizations, delivering care to one in three