Previously, hospitals were required to independently review qualifications of remote-site practitioners already credentialed by their home hospitals. The result was that those practitioners could not provide telemedicine services unless they were granted privileges by both their home hospital and any hospital where they provided remote services.
“This is not some little rule but one that will have a big impact on the different types of care and payment models,” said Dr. Peggy Naas, vice president and leader of physician strategies for VHA, an Irving, Texas-based national healthcare purchasing network.
The change is expected to “encourage and facilitate” not only the use of telemedicine (the use of electronic information and telecommunications to provide healthcare services), but also the use of treatment organization long sought by federal health officials. For example, Naas said, easier hospital use of telemedicine will encourage additional clinical integration.
Another provision that drew praise from hospitals allows hospitals to receive telemedicine services from clinicians at a different type of healthcare entity, such as a physician group practice.
The American Hospital Association advocated for such an addition to the previous telemedicine regulations because many hospitals contract with nonhospitals for telemedicine services, such as radiology interpretation. The new rules should expand hospitals’ use of telemedicine services, the AHA said in a statement.