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Medicare to Expand Telemedicine Use

(MedPage Today) Medicare officials and members of Congress are taking steps to expand the use of telemedicine services by dropping -- or proposing to drop -- restrictions on their use.
Both the 2014 Medicare physician fee schedule and legislation to repeal the program's sustainable growth rate (SGR) payment formula have provisions designed to improve access to telemedicine.
"Many of the states [through Medicaid] do a much better job of using telehealth than does the Medicare program," Gary Capistrant, senior director of public policy at the American Telemedicine Association, told MedPage Today. "Medicare may be the last to move forward."
Telemedicine is defined as the remote delivery of healthcare services and clinical information using telecommunications tools such as internet, wireless, satellite and telephone media. According to the American Telemedicine Association, 20 states and the District of Columbia require that private insurers cover telehealth the same as they cover in-person services.
Community: Smart move, Medicare officials. This change can help reduce medical costs.
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