Last week, Senators Cory Gardner (R-CO) and Gary Peters (D-MI) introduced new legislation to test expanded Medicare coverage of telehealth services.  The Telehealth Innovation and Improvement Act requires the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to allow selected, eligible hospitals to offer telehealth services in cooperation with the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation

The full Senate could vote as early as this week on the nomination of Rep. Tom Price (R-GA) to be Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). In January, two Senate Committees held hearings on Rep. Price’s nomination. These hearings focused largely on Rep. Price’s stance on repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and on reform of the Medicare and Medicaid programs. Senators asked few questions related to health information technology, and the limited discussion on this topic centered primarily on the burdens placed on providers by HHS initiatives to promote the “meaningful use” of electronic health records (EHRs).
Continue Reading Vote on HHS Secretary Nomination Expected as Early as this Week; Nomination Hearings Included Little Discussion of Health IT

In July of 2015 we noted that nine states had enacted laws to join the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact.  We described this cooperative program intended to allow physicians to obtain expedited licenses to practice in multiple states.  This would facilitate the delivery of telemedicine across state lines; physicians are generally prohibited from practicing, even

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) recently proposed a rule to enhance ONC oversight and accreditation of health IT.  Under the rule, the ONC’s primary goal would be to work with health IT developers to remedy any non-conformities with certified health IT.  The proposed rule focuses on three areas:
Continue Reading HHS Proposes Rule to Increase ONC Review and Oversight of Certified Health IT

This week, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Acting Administrator Andy Slavitt set forth guiding principles that CMS will consider in crafting regulations implementing the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA).  In January, Administrator Slavitt announced the end of the Electronic Health Records (EHR) Meaningful Use Program, which would instead be replaced by a “new regime culminating with the MACRA implementation.”
Continue Reading CMS Acting Administrator Prioritizes Simplicity and Interoperability In Implementing MACRA

Earlier this week, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) finalized a rule implementing a provision of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that requires a Medicaid enrollee seeking coverage for home health services to first meet face-to-face with a practitioner.  The final rule confirms that the face-to-face encounter requirement “may occur through telehealth, as implemented by the State.” 42 C.F.R. § 440.70(f)(6).
Continue Reading New CMS Rule Permits Home Health Face-to-Face Encounters to Occur Through Telehealth Technology

Last month, the Health Subcommittee of the House Energy & Commerce Committee approved the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act of 2015.  The Act is designed to improve access to treatment for mental health and substance use disorders, and it includes several provisions to modestly expand and improve the use of technology in delivering care.
Continue Reading House Legislation Would Modestly Expand Use of Technology in Treating Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders