CMS proposed new regulations in the May 26th Federal Register to address the credentialing and privileging of physicians and practitioners that provide telemedicine services. Almost ten years ago, ATA worked with the Joint Commission to develop a process and standards whereby one accredited hospital could accept the credentialing and privileging of physicians providing telemedicine services from another accredited hospital—a process referred to as “by proxy”.
However, CMS had been insisting that as of July 15th, all hospitals would have to comply with the outmoded Medicare requirement that requires each hospital fully and independently credential and privilege each telemedicine practitioner in order to qualify under the CMS “Conditions of Participation” for the facility. This would have forced many telemedicine networks to close or shrink.
According to ATA, the newly proposed rule appears to ensure that Medicare-participating hospitals will be able to credential and grant privileges to telemedicine physicians in a manner similar to the Joint Commission process.
The new flexibility under the proposed rule would reduce the burden and duplicative nature of the traditional credentialing and privileging process for Medicare-participating hospitals and Critical Access Hospitals engaged in telemedicine agreements while still assuring accountability to the process. This is a big win for telemedicine and bodes well for future dealings with Medicare over using technology and telecommunications to deliver healthcare.
ATA is presenting a video cast to discuss all the details and answer questions concerning the new CMS proposal. The video cast free for ATA members and $25 for non-members, is going to be held on May 27th at 11:30am EST. For more information, go to www.americantelemed.org or call (202) 223-3333.