The AHA is supportive of that change, but the letter adds that these changes only govern telemedicine services provided by practitioners at another Medicare-participating hospital and would not apply to telemedicine service delivered by physician groups or other entities that smaller hospitals often rely on for services such as radiology interpretation.
“Under the prior Joint Commission standards, hospitals were permitted to use the credentialing and privileging information from such groups as long as the entity was accredited by the Joint Commission through its ambulatory care accreditation program,” the letter said. “We urge CMS to develop a similar process whereby hospitals can use the credentialing and privileging information from practitioners who fulfill the Medicare Conditions of Coverage.”
In the proposed changes published in the May 26 Federal Register, the CMS acknowledged that its current telemedicine credentialing rules created a “duplicative and burdensome process” particularly for small hospitals. According to the CMS, the proposed changes would eliminate “regulatory impediments and allow for the advancement of telemedicine nationwide while still protecting the health and safety of patients.” See the letter (PDF)..