The CMS issued a final rule Wednesday that allows home health agencies to bill Medicare for remote patient monitoring.
Home health is expected to boom in the coming years as the baby boomers continue to retire. Remote patient monitoring allows providers to collect health information about patients digitally and studies show the service results in more live-time data-sharing, which can lead to more tailored care and better health outcomes.
"This home health final rule focuses on patient needs and not on the volume of care," said CMS Administrator Seema Verma, in a statement.
In 2016, about 3.4 million Medicare beneficiaries received home health services, and the program spent about $18.1 billion on home healthcare services.
In addition to paying for remote patient monitoring, the CMS will also begin paying eligible home infusion therapy suppliers for administering certain drugs. The rule outlines eligibility for home infusion therapy suppliers including health and safety standards and an accreditation process.
Furthermore, in continuation with its Meaningful Measures initiative, the CMS finalized the removal of seven measures from the Home Health Quality Reporting Program including an influenza immunization measure during flu season.
The rule also approved increasing Medicare payment for home health agencies by 2.2% for 2019, or $420 million. That's higher than a 2.1%, or $400 million, increase originally proposed in the rule.