Expanding access to telemedicine just got a little easier for health care providers and health centers. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) recently lifted restrictions on critical access hospitals (CAH) rural health clinics (RHC) and federally qualified health centers (FQHC), citing the high quality care delivered by telemedicine. This means physicians are no longer are required to visit clinics every two weeks, decreasing travel time for doctors who practice in remote areas.
According to a CMS press release, “This provision…recognizes telemedicine improvements and expansions that allow physicians to provide many types of care at lower costs, while maintaining high-quality care.”
Candace Shaw, HTRC Oklahoma state director says this is great news for doctors in Oklahoma. “We have dedicated doctors in this state who are willing to do whatever it takes to take good care of their rural patients,” said Shaw. “But the time they spend traveling to remote sites means they can’t see as many patients and spend valuable hours driving. This gives clinics the option to update protocols so doctors don’t have to spend as much time on the road.”
The CMS rule change came as part of an executive order signed by President Obama in 2012 to find ways to eliminate red tape bogging down CMS and other agencies.
For help with CMS questions related to telehealth, or other regulatory matters, contact HTRC at 877-643-HTRC (4872).