CMS issues report to Congress on telehealth in Medicare

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) published a report to Congress on Nov. 15 detailing the state of telehealth in the Medicare program. The report includes four areas of focus: 1) Medicare beneficiaries whose care would benefit the most from telehealth expansion; 2) activities by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation that increased access to telehealth; 3) the types of high-volume services suitable for telehealth; and 4) barriers that might prevent the expansion of telehealth.

CMS found that, overall, telehealth utilization among Medicare-fee-for-service beneficiaries has increased, though services have primarily focused on the needs of rural beneficiaries. The report concludes that telehealth can be a powerful tool for in offering the best approach to care with  consideration of the patient’s age, race/ethnicity, geographic location and diagnoses, and it can provide high quality care without increasing costs.